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Irwin Kula, Author and TV Personality, to Lecture at FAU
“Today” Show Regular to Hold First Palm Beach County Book Signing for KULTUR Series
BOCA RATON, FL (January 16, 2007) -- Irwin Kula, a noted TV personality, author and president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership in New York City, will lecture on “Jewish Wisdom of the 21 st Century” and sign copies of his recently-published book on Wednesday, January 24, at 3 p.m., in the Grand Palm Room of the University Center at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton campus.
Kula, an eighth-generation rabbi, merges ancient Jewish wisdom with contemporary insights and offers practical perspectives on everyday problems. He has appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and has been a guest on NBC’s “Today” show five times since his book, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, was published in September. Kula recently appeared on a national PBS pledge special, The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings. Fast Company magazine and Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, a TV newsmagazine, named Kula one of the new leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape in 2000.
The New York author was inspired to write Yearnings after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which he says helped to shape his faith. “In many ways, it was my response to 9-11,” said Kula, a rabbi for 25 years. “I realized that the wisdom of every religion tradition needed to be loosened from its group-building purpose and offered as wisdom that can help anybody. Otherwise, religion could return to a role of being destructive.”
Kula’s lecture will be the second in a series of three 2006-2007 KULTUR programs sponsored by the Friends of Yiddish at FAU Libraries. He will focus on how religion can move from being exclusive and boundary-creating to being a genuine source of wisdom that enhances peoples’ lives.
Kula said the most gratifying response to his 336-page book has come from the endorsements from a range of authors, including Deepak Chopra, Mitch Albom, Dr.Wayne W. Dyer and Harold S. Kushner. Dyer, author of Inspiration and The Power of Intention, is quoted as saying “Irwin Kula is a masterful teacher. He is passionate about his message and every page shimmers with excitement as he conveys his inner knowing that ‘you can become all that you yearn to manifest’ – very readable!”
Although this will be Kula’s first book signing in Palm Beach County, he is no stranger to South Florida. He travels to the location approximately a half dozen times a year to lecture and to visit family. His parents, Cantor Morton Kula and Charlotte, an educator, live in Boca Raton. Three of Kula’s brothers, including Cantor Mark Kula, live in the Miami area, while one lives in New York City. Another brother, Aaron Kula, is director of music collections at FAU Libraries, chairman of KULTUR, and founder and conductor of the Klezmer Company Orchestra.
Irwin Kula will make a guest appearance in “Beyond the Tribes,” a grand production with 40 performers that celebrates the musical fusion of exotic melodies from around the world on Sunday, March 4 at the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium on FAU’s Boca Raton campus. Aaron Kula is composing a work titled “Voices.” His brother will chant words from selected cell phone calls of 9-11 victims. The words will be set to biblical chanting normally used to sing the “Lamentations of Jeremiah,” the five poems written as a result of the siege of the fall of Jerusalem.
The KULTUR series has advanced Yiddish-related scholarship at FAU by attracting donations for research, performance and outreach. Attendance at KULTUR has grown consistently since its inception in the fall of 2002, largely due to interest in the subject matter and creative programming.
The final KULTUR event will be a lecture and book signing by Jeffrey Shandler, an associate professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, on Wednesday, February 21 at 3 p.m., in the Majestic Palm Room of the University Center, located at FAU’s Boca Raton campus. All events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
A $10 membership/donation to ‘The Friends of Yiddish’ allows members advance notice of events. For more information, call the FAU Libraries’ hotline at 561-297-2116, visit www.library.fau.edu/news/news.htm or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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