Good Vibrations: Michael Fitzpatrick and Rabbi Irwin Kula

SAT, NOV 6, 2010 (1:24:19)

Musician Michael Fitzpatrick calls out for compassion and world peace with his cello and discusses the power of good vibrations with Rabbi Irwin Kula. This discussion is part of “Bodies on the Line”, a 9-day colloquium at New York University, bringing together 9 artists and writers from across genres and around the world to share work, ideas and process. Our subject is borders. There are the real borders, such as the ones that are the focus in debates about immigration policy in this country and around the world. There are also political and ideological borders that divide us. On the one hand, borders limit us, and make us vulnerable. On the other hand we want to look at the possibilities and opportunities at border lines. Bodies on the Line considers the border as a point of energy and creativity in different regions and spheres of life. The symposium is structured around small working groups and some public presentations. Assisted by respondents, expert witnesses, and the collaboration of several universities and cultural organizations, Bodies on the Line Fellows explore each other’s artistic representations and investigations of immigration, statelessness, and identity in the contemporary world. The goal of the colloquium is to create new artistic partnerships, to inspire future projects, and to use artistic practice as a way of investigating new and historical ideas. Above all, we seek to bring artists around a table to discuss, in their own unique ways, and with their own unique creative resources, some of the world’s most pressing problems.

+ BIO: Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright who is said to have created a new form of theater. She has won numerous awards, among them two Obies, two Tony nominations, a Drama Desk Award, the Susan V. Berresford Fellowship from United States Artists, and a MacArthur fellowship. She was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror. Her work, in a series called “On The Road: A Search for American Character,” combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. She currently plays hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus, a series regular, on Showtime’s hit series Nurse Jackie. Additional screen credits include The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Life Support, and others. Honorary degrees include those from Juilliard, John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY, Northwestern, Haverford, and Radcliffe. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has also been the inaugural artist in residence at the Ford Foundation, MTV Networks, and the Aspen Institute. She is a professor at New York University. She is founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, Inc., a center that convenes artists whose work addresses the world’s most pressing problems.

+ BIO: Michael Fitzpatrick

Michael Fitzpatrick is the recipient of the Prince Charles Award for Outstanding Musicianship conferred by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. He has worked musically with His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama for the past fourteen years on COMPASSION RISING, the East-West music collaboration filmed and recorded inside Mammoth Cave, the largest cave in the world. Based in Los Angeles, he performs as soloist around the world.

+ BIO: Irwin Kula

An internationally sought-after speaker, Rabbi Irwin Kula has inspired millions worldwide by using Jewish wisdom to speak to all aspects of modern life and relationships. An engaged and thoughtful trader in the global marketplace of ideas, he led a Passover Seder in Bhutan; consulted with government officials in Rwanda; helped build cultural and interfaith bridges in Qatar; and met with leaders as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Queen Noor to discuss compassionate leadership. Across the U.S., he works constantly and tirelessly with religious as well business and community leaders, corporate and family foundations, and religious and philanthropic institutions to promote leadership development and institutional change. For all this and more, Rabbi Kula received the 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award for his work “toward equality, liberty and a truly inter-religious community.” Fast Company magazine and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly (PBS) both named him one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape, and he was listed three years in a row in Newsweek as one of the Top 10 of the “Top 50 Rabbis in America.” Across the media, Rabbi Kula is in constant demand for the distinctive perspective he offers on matters both spiritual and secular matters. He’s appeared regularly on NBC’s Today Show, was a repeat guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and co-hosted the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula. In addition, he’s appeared on The O’Reilly Factor (Fox), Frontline (PBS),, among many others, and blogs for “The Huffington Post” and Newsweek/‘s “On Faith.” Rabbi Kula has written several influential texts on religion and spirituality. His most recent book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (2006), won a “Books for a Better Life” award and was named one of the “Best Spiritual Books of 2006” by Spirituality & Health. He also wrote and was featured in Time for a New God (2004), an acclaimed documentary in which he muses on religion as a “giant tool box” for personal and social transformation. In 2003, Rabbi Kula hosted a 13-part public television special, “Simple Wisdom with Irwin Kula,” that used Jewish wisdom to explore such life issues as relationships, money, work, and sex. He explored similar themes in another public television special, “The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings.” Rabbi Irwin Kula is the President of Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership), a leadership-training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City. He received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, his B.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in NY, and his M.A. in Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from JTSA. An eighth-generation rabbi, he has headed congregations in St. Louis, MO; Queens, NY; and Jerusalem, Israel and co-founded the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in Chicago.

Bodies on the Line Series
Great Performances Series
Great Performances: Composers Series
Pursuit of Happiness Series