Episode Six - Rabbi Yossi Sapirman talks about the Pittsburgh shooting.

Saul Colt: [00:00:00] You know like it's you know young people aren't aren't really embracing Judaism the same way. You know it seems like it's you know it's it's getting harder and harder to get people interested in the faith. And right now with everything that happened I think there's a tie into that Israel is to hear your thoughts on what's going on in Pittsburgh and you know even you know I saw on the news last night the you know there was a synagogue in Brooklyn that people defaced and you know it's just curious about your thoughts and like we can just sort of roll from there but it doesn't have to be that long it could be short long you know. But now just sort of let you go and ask you a few questions here and there if that's cool.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:00:43] Ok for sure. Now the quality on your end is not great. How was it a Mike are you recording me. Later. OK good. We're Where are you. Are you in town now. Are you in trouble. Yeah. OK. I'm coming to school tomorrow. We have a memorial service. So are you going. Yeah. OK. So. What is your audience by the way. Who's who.

 

[00:01:17] It's a whole you know it's a very assorted group of people is about 5000 people listen. And it's you know it's people who either follow me. You know it's like you know we've had people on the show so far from entertainment to sports to. So it isn't defined by anything except for who that weekly guest is. But it's you know it's probably people you know 25 to 55 and you know probably know me from the business world or things like that. But it's it's a real you know hodgepodge of people.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:01:53] Ok. So I don't have to talk about it from a strictly Jewish land like apart from really see the world kind of thing of course. Ok. All right so let's start.

 

Saul Colt: [00:02:04] Ok so I'll just I'll just throw this out and say you know everything that's going on in the world and specially you know just let people know or recording this. The Friday after the the Pittsburgh shooting and it will air the Wednesday after the first shabbat but you know after the shooting you're a rabbi. Tell me what's going through your mind like the world seems to be going crazy. Right now.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:02:33] It is it feels like like it's crazy but it doesn't feel more crazy it just feels like it's looking for us. There is this notion that because you're a vegetarian the bull won't charge you. In other words if we espouse peace and love and tolerance and integration and compassion and empathy and we support all different kinds of groups interfaith people who are poor impoverished we do better for society then society doesn't turn on us. That's the bull. As the vegetarians were saying to the bull. We have nothing against your will. But the bull charges and humans are in their target and the bull chooses its target based on perhaps an unknown pattern or because of some kind of incitement. And here we are asking the bull why are you charging me because I would never hurt you. And that is really sadly true that it's turned on us. We feel the weight of it on the Jewish community but it's not the Jewish community itself. It's the targeting of a place of worship and the innocence of religion that religion itself asks for the freedom to have a sacred island in which we're free from the necessity of guns and violence. Murder and death and beyond the horror of all of the 11 murdered. The the the thought that so many people had lived through their whole lives some had survived the Holocaust ended up in terror. It's beyond shocking but it's not surprising because there have been churches attacked and mosques attacked and houses of parliament attack and there are attacks regularly that we barely hear about and are all kinds of places it's just that it's come home to roost and it's close now when it's close we really feel it and that is part one. It's close. We feel it. We need to express it. We need to not be afraid to go to our houses of worship whichever whichever religion denomination but especially now I want to be safe in my synagogue. I want to improve security. I want to know that I take taken seriously. But I want people to stop saying to me I'm afraid to go to shul I'm afraid to go to the synagogue. Although to be completely blunt people have said to me they're always afraid. But they go anyhow. And I think that's the point we're getting to is we're going any say sorry. I want. OK. So that was part one is this idea that we're we may be afraid. We have the right to be afraid. We're not we're not alone in our fear. Others have been targeted too. And it's not surprising unexpected it's horrific. What we're going to synagogue on this Saturday stand in solidarity with everybody in the world who has suffered in the same way to say we're with you but also to say we're not afraid to be here and to teach our children that the best way to overcome fear is to choose to fight back and ignore it or focus on something greater than the possibility of fear. And that's that's part one of the zeitgeist of what's going on. So why was he getting far too out. I was going to say part two is part two is the general sense that something is amiss and something is wrong and there's without getting into the political debate in a significant way. There's been a call for leadership and I could not tell you that there's a credible leader on either side already non-credible leader on either side what we are seeing is as ordinary citizens looking primarily to the U.S. but also we have to consider what we've done here in Canada but if we look towards the US there's a call for action even a call for action is unclear. And it seems like the calling for action used to mean there's a moral standard please uphold it. Please enforce it. Please make sure that these things don't happen and now it seems that that very same call for action is in itself either a dog whistle or it's an opportunity to bash whatever positivity comes out of it. It's almost as though the very dialogue saying Help me help me is a way of either placing blame or placing obligation but no one is reaching out to help. And by that I mean there is no clearly defined bipartisan way in which we can change the dynamic of society whether it be guns whether it be supremacy whether it be political fracture whether it be the inability to express anything without fear of being exposed docs etc. Those are all the things that have that that are really scaring people and that is because there's no 9/11 for society or civilization anymore. That's really the problem. When they answer the call they tell you it's your fault or they tell you that it's someone else's fault or they tell you that you're living proof that there's a problem but they don't solve or there's no solution in place.

 

Saul Colt: [00:08:02] So it's it's it's interesting you talk about you know call to action because that's one of the things that I've been struggling with this last week. So when I heard the news of everything is going on I was in Little Rock Arkansas speaking at a conference and being in the south. You can make all the sort of you know stereotypes you want to make. I actually found it a very warm community and these people were very upset with what was going on. There was no joking there was no you know belittleing it or thing but the one thing that stuck with me is nobody was surprised. You know whether it be a school shooting or a synagogue shooting or whatever. It's become so commonplace and in you know in people's minds maybe a little bit more in the U.S. and in certain pockets of the U.S. But you know nobody was outraged or maybe they outraged but nobody was you know like caught off guard by this and as you know myself Canadian you know travels all around North America. It's interesting. I sort of see people's different viewpoints and stuff but it has me personally. I want to do something and I don't know what to do and you know I didn't put the badge on my Facebook wall because for some reason that just didn't seem like it was anything or you know. I don't know. Like I think that you know I would like to have a stronger voice and try to do something. I just have no idea what to do.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:09:28] Well Saul, the real question is exactly what you're asking and that is beyond slacktivism or beyond wallpapers or beyond twitters. What can we do. What can we actually do. Part of this is the reason that we go stand in a synagogue is because the first thing we need to do is declare fear alive and we have to wrestle with the fear because fear is the anxiety that will keep us away which inevitably will allow will allow for disconnection from our community which will create further opportunities for hate or resentment if we're not strong together. And I don't mean as a Jewish community I mean as a human community we're not strong knowing that there's no surprise that this is going to happen or has happened if we're not strong in the face of it then we lose immediately. So the first step is to get together with other people and say we're here and once we're here we can say what can we do and what we can do. I'm not an expert on what we can do but I know that we have to do is twofold. We have to change our security procedures so that we prepare for the worst case scenario and we have to keep our value systems open and keep dialoguing and keep talking and connecting with other communities that have been through this or other communities that could be good cause of this. It is critical that we reach out to interfaith communities and connect with them because they're all subject to this tide of hate intolerance whether they be Muslim Jews Christians. To some degree everybody suffers to some degree. So the first real answer is wrestle with our fear. Let's not run away from it. Let's talk about in a second. Let's talk to other people who share similar fears and then we together we can look at can we create a solution based on many different points that seem to be awry and unfortunately they seem incredibly banal and each one in its own right is worth exploring but it becomes overwhelming. We have to look at the mental health crisis we have to look at the amount of guns being smuggled through a border. We have to look at access to weaponry. We have to look at better surveillance. We have to look at government maybe government support for faith based institutions to provide them with infrastructure grants. We have to start looking at the way we the way we dialogue publicly we have to talk about what things should be off limits is free speech. Automatic is right to bear arms automatic. What are we willing to do. And the answer is there's 100 things that people can come up with that we can talk to. And still I don't think after 100 things we're going to get to the we're not going to be able to solve every single shooting or every single attack or every single act of hatred. And what's shocking to me really is there isn't even an attempt to create a strategy. Wouldn't it make sense that we have a strategy or group who's been supported by the citizenry and government that says we are explicitly getting together to deal with human on human violence in our society and that's what we want to talk about. And there's many many many different pieces of it. I mean we can talk about the drug crisis and how drugs often fuel you know violence we could talk about what women go through. We can talk about the abuse of children. All this is part of a big circle of human on human violence that really requires a serious like a white ribbon task force where they can produce a full inquiry almost no different than a coroner who's inspecting the corpse of human dignity. What went wrong and we'll come up with hundreds hundreds of answers. All we have to do is look at every one of these examples of human on human violence and say what went wrong. What do we know. Slowly a picture will start to emerge that a society that has abandoned the abandoned the dignity of the mentally ill that's abandoned the the border controls that are authentically dignified and still stop guns. The weakness of our law that allows people who have guns who commit gun crimes to continue to commit them the easy access to weaponry maybe not so much here but in the states that certainly here we've had the same thing where you know we shouldn't imagine that we're immune. What about all the all the victims who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder what about our veterans who are not being treated properly when they return from war. What about all these pieces that come into and all we need to do is a forensic analysis of what's gone wrong. We'll have that white paper that will tell us these thousand recommendations need to happen. No one's doing that at all. There's nobody out there that has been authorized or should be an intergovernmental conversation there should be a bipartisan committee or a standing committee on how to prevent human violence on human violence and we can we can. The problem is that will reach every aspect of our society. And instead of seeing the problems we have in society is piecemeal they are all part of a single major commitment to replacing the polity or politics with governments who actually fundamentally agree their primary purpose is not just to manage the finance and security of the country but to also manage the dignity and health of the country. I'm not talking about nanny state I'm talking about solving problems that everybody could agree are issues and we could struggle with how but let's start dealing with.

 

Saul Colt: [00:15:43] So I have like a love hate relationship with social media. One I wouldn't have a career if it wasn't for social media I can completely turn my back on it. But you know when I do see now that the dream of social media was bringing you know the universe smaller and be able to maintain relationships with people you know faraway places and connect and intertwine and you know. And it's done that to a great extent but it's also really allowed people of all you know either right minded or or wrong minded to rally troops and motive. You know I don't want the word militarise but really gather people together. Like minded whatever that topic be whether it's you know onside or off side. And a lot of these like and I think it's proliferated hate in a lot of ways like just that last night I believe or maybe just two nights ago a an event at a Brooklyn synagogue was canceled is just you know a social event not not anything religious based but it was canceled because somebody wrote kill all the Jews in front of the building and you know and so you're all about the Two-Step so I'm going to go two steps here. One the fact that they did it is awful but two it was trending on Twitter as like the second or third highest. You know hash tag or whatever. Kill all the Jews. And like there is such a responsibility from these these platforms to you know not be a hate agnostic or not be agnostic. You know they can't just put their arms in the air anymore and say hey we're just you know we're it's a platform that you know there has to be some checks and balances and yes we don't want them to be thought police we don't want them to tell us you know what's right and what's wrong. But I don't think anybody would argue that there shouldn't be something so blatantly hateful on any of these things no matter who it's directed to.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:17:47] So Gabb dot com or that the Web site that was the home of the Pittsburgh shooter. Basically where he where directly spoke to his hatred for Jews HIAS and various things eventually shut down. I think I believe that was closed down. I believe that whoever was running it sort of said you know we're either at risk or we can't do this anymore or maybe they had a chance.

 

Saul Colt: [00:18:12] I don't know. I don't believe they did it. I believe it was. Go Daddy that said you can't host on our platform anymore.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:18:21] Ok. Right. So what I what I do agree with you is that social media plays a huge role in this. What I don't agree with is the idea that everybody agrees on what is considered right and wrong. And part of this is what I'm talking about were government and government is essentially the people not talking about rogue government here. We have the right to talk about what are the limits to free speech and over time we've started to realize in social media like anything else is relatively new. We started to realize is it can be argued a direct link between what goes on on it in the verse it goes on and in the ether and what happens on the street. Initially it was just seen as well whatever it is people talking what do you care like people can talk all they want but not anymore. We're starting to realize people post their you know their commitments to the terrorist groups then go out and commit acts. There's a space in which there's a direct link and ignoring it is no different than the argument about whether guns kill people or people kill people. So social media has a whole different story because there's a lot of money to be made and there's a lot of vested interest in bringing people to it and the delicate balance between what you can and cannot say and the idea of government regulation whereas the Internet was a fundamentally free space. Yeah that's fine. But we also have farmers who have rights to put up fences around their farms and keep their livestock in and keep people out. Yeah it used to be the prairie and you could roam as far as far as you could. Not anymore. There's a reason that fences are permitted around properties and there has to be safeguards. And this will only happen not when the majority speak up but the minority speak up because the minority are also the ones who drive change. And I mean everyone's worried about what happens when you speak out on social media how you get abused and beaten whatever that's the least of our worries. The biggest worry is that it reaches out to the to the actors who then go out and perpetuate what they're being told. But they're being told in a forum that is entirely legal and therefore has within its within its reach some framework some nugget of legitimacy because if it was illegal or was immoral or was it appropriate or didn't conform to speech permission with regards to whatever country's laws we're talking about it wouldn't be there but it's there and it's open. Well then it does have a certain legitimacy. In other words it's part of the it's part of the legitimate dialogue and legitimacy and dialogue breeds people who act on legitimacy and dialogue. And this is just one little corner of this of the issues we're talking about. But I'm not an expert in how to resolve social media. First Amendment free speech debate. I don't know how to do that. I know that we probably have people that do and we're not talking about it because there's a chill on dealing with rights and freedoms and most people and this is my opinion most people I think would trade some rights and freedoms for security and safety and there are all kinds of freedoms we give up to be part of society. So at what point to the human beings get the freedom to speak. Absolutely undeniably freely. And we know there are limitations. You can't yell fire in a theater right. You can't you're certain things you can't do. It might be time for us to look at that no different than gun control or ending drunk driving after knowledge of the carnage. So social media has a huge role to play and the model that exists right now I think is not likely to be its own its own censor. It's not likely to do it although you did see what happened when with the Google walkout. It's not exactly social media monitoring social media but social media is starting to look at how its power and changing society which in a sense was a huge step toward saying no to violence on women by creating a physical human exit from the Corporation for a few hours or a day in using the social media technique to gather all the employees and they all spoke in a common voice and they took common action and that is really kind of a model of what has to happen. There was an attempt to do that after the school shooting where the school kids went up to Washington and there was a strike essentially against school that will be unsafe. Kid feeling I'm feeling fearful. That is exactly I think the transition we're looking for comes off the pages of the screen and comes into human action and comes into a reaction. And hopefully the same the very same tool that is used for hate can be turned into a tool for change by mobilizing people on a grand scale unheard of before. I mean ideally what you'd want is you'd want people to log off their accounts and not use them and therefore people are not making money anymore in a show of force of displeasure with what happened. So if if this posting happened through Facebook let's say which it didn't. But if it did and people all logged off of Facebook didn't use it for two days or three days in memory of the victims. I think you'd start to see the corporation say whoa we're at risk of human human response to cyber business. I think it's a huge change that would be a kind of campaign. You can do which is how to take our online feelings and transfer them into real feelings. There was there was a little while ago there was a campaign I think against Mike Pence who was pro abortion or something where people were asked to donate to to a pro-life pro-life a not a pro-life or women's shelter or clinic in in honor of Mike Pence just to show how displeased they were with his values not not taking a stand on that but what I'm saying is there is this need to start translating the protest from the screen to the to the to the human human engagement.

 

Saul Colt: [00:25:40] So I agree to two things that one made me angry and one made me you know you know optimistic for society that came directly after you know the awful things that happened in Pittsburgh the shooting was you know the thing that made me very optimistic was the Muslim community basically said you know look we're we're we're standing with you we're raising money we don't want this to happen. We've we've seen where you are right now and we know you know exactly what you're going through we're not going to turn a blind eye towards that and I thought that was really amazing and I wish more people would would talk about that. And the thing that made me really angry and you don't have to comment on this if you don't want to but the fact that and I don't want this to you know degrade into a political conversation. But the fact that Donald Trump one of his first statements were that he thought that that the Jewish community planned this whole thing just to you know put a spotlight on them again. So when you when you have such different ends of the spectrum of you know kind of like you know people who are standing up and trying to trying to act and trying to be good and then you have somebody who you know however you want to free as it is you know not push anything forward maybe not preventing anything but certainly not making anything better. You know it really shows just how broken we are right now as as a society.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:27:14] So I'll respond to the second one. First I'm not familiar with the statement in which it sounded like he was blaming blaming the victim for playing the card like the race card or the religion card and maybe even creating this event as a sort of like a 9/11 type you know a false flag type of thing. I just don't know. I don't know about that. But what I do know and going back to the first thing you said we started our conversation talking about leadership talked about the dearth of leadership the impossibility of dialogue. But you're right. What's happened is Muslims. Was an Iranian student also who raised a huge amount of money a lot of interfaith groups have done this. They've stepped up and they've said if the leadership won't come from where leaders are supposed to be leadership will come from next door leadership will come from us the Muslim community while people were very busy worrying about Muslim terrorism which is there's a legitimate threat ignored that most of the Muslims in North America and around the world are not are not the terrorists most of them are kind of very much like us and feel and have the same fears and anxieties. And it's extraordinary that this community helped out. But you know when asked about what motivated them to help out in this way nobody should be surprised because one of the great underpinnings of Islamic society is charity justice for all it's not that different than Judaism in its worldview. There are sects who don't agree to that. But generally speaking that's the general sense of what Muslims place in the world is when they were asked why they did this they said because when we had the shooting in Quebec City you were there for us when we had the shootings or the hate crimes various places you were therefore you found a ring around our mosque you were there for us when 9/11 happened. We were under attack just because we looked sounded or felt Muslim. You were there for us. You're sheltered us. You gave us the support that we so desperately needed. And now we're just giving back to you. So this is actually part of the answer is this is a long go along an ongoing cycle of caring and giving this is not new. Neither is the hatred but also neither is the love and that unfortunately seems to be the cycle we're doomed to repeat unless we have an anomaly called leadership. True large leadership that looks at the entirety of the issue and makes real changes even though society will never go along with them entirely. Even though you will have pushed back even though any kind of gun control will cause challenges any kind of changes to mental health support will be difficult. It will cost money. Any kind of support for the abused or the diminished people in our society will be expensive even if all that is true at the end of the day. If that's what we really want we really want a different society we have to go make it otherwise we're going to have a same society we have now which doesn't just include violence. It includes a lot of love but it's a cycle and it would be great if we could have loved prevail or the true nature of humanity prevail when humanity is at peace with each other. I'm not pollyannish and I don't think it's ever possible that a purely violent free society. But there are so many things we could look at to question whether we really have to depend on love after the blood as opposed to love before.

 

Saul Colt: [00:31:12] So I mentioned the top we're recording this the day before the first shabbat but after the shooting what do you have planned for tomorrow either to talk about I know that and like I'll be there and tell like I don't imagine it's just going to be a typical Saturday service.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:31:36] So it's really interesting. Saw that I feel it's a massive undertaking. Not only to memorialize and send solidarity Shabat but also not to trample on the family who's having a bar mitzvah tomorrow. It would be easy to have a somber service from moment one. No no smiling. We sing different tunes as we cry we share we hug we know we all feel bad that we feel a little better than we eat and we go home. We don't have that option. We have a child's life in our hands who we have to make his day special and keep it special and we don't want him to have a memory of my day was a day of mourning. So I have that dual challenge tomorrow which actually is fundamentally what we're all about we carry on in the face of deep mourning by giving life primacy. So that is that is the undertone of tomorrow it's going to be a dual message which is stand in solidarity love each other and fight the stranger. We'll have all kinds of faiths backgrounds all kinds of people here tomorrow. But at the same time you have to make sure that a young man who's entering the covenant and being part of the Jewish world walks away with a sense of pride and happiness and joy. And that cannot be diminished no matter what is happening in the world because otherwise we risk ruining our ability to carry on. So that is part of what's happening tomorrow. I have something that's happened tomorrow that you can't repeat.

 

Saul Colt: [00:33:10] When is this going to be broadcast like Wednesday. Five six days from now.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:33:15] Purrfect so don't repeat this until you see it. We're going to do something tomorrow I don't know of any other synagogue that's done it or we'll do it. But we are going to parade 11 tours around the sanctuary in memory of the 11 victims and we will actually use the Torah as a representation of their of their of their presence and that will put them away and that will be sort of the tribute to the 11 victims who gave their lives and we will carry them in our hearts like sacred Torah scrolls and let everybody in the synagogue be a participant in sort of the Lavanya which means Levi as a word for a funeral but it also means to accompany we're going to accompany them in passage and acknowledge them. It should be very powerful. There's going to be special music there it's going to be a few speeches not a lot. I think the moment speaks for itself. I think this standing shoulder to shoulder is what really is what's necessary. People just need to feel some human warmth and end the isolation and get their their eyes off the TV or the ears away from the radio or just hear some something familiar and be with people that are familiar with or an environment that speaks to them and allows them to transition from grief to commitment to carry on. That's what's so that's what you can expect tomorrow or something very powerful but also very electrifying.

 

Saul Colt: [00:34:44] Two more questions and I let you get back to your day. And like I may come off as a jerk asking this question. I hope I don't. But I think it's something that I think about. I mentioned that I heard about the shooting when I was in Little Rock Arkansas and it was interesting how very different kind of discussions and there's a stand up comedian named Kyle Kanane who brilliant very edgy comedian not blue edgy but more like you know poking the bear about what's going on in the world. And he did a Netflix special recently and his opening joke was about a school shooting. And the joke basically was you know he made a joke. He made like a you know a comment about a school shooting in the crowd sort of groans. And he says no no no. Not the most recent school shooting. That would be inappropriate. I'm talking about the one before that and obviously the joke is that it's become so commonplace in our lives that that you know you're only sensitive about the most recent thing. And my question and this is where I may sound like a jerk. Are we still going to be talking about this in two weeks or are we going to forget about this.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:36:01] Saul, you might be a jerk but that this question won't do it. This is a good question and we're we're we're sitting here staff were looking through you know what's going on what's been posted all the articles being written and for some people some people have really made it trite somebody over already over politicized it some people have turned this into a continuation of the Democrat versus Republican war some people have done that have tried to reach so far that the overload is is almost almost unbearable and some people have been very sensitive and very caring. And I think that the comedian is right. He's telling us something which is really true which is what have you killed for me lately. And what have you killed for me lately is a real thing. It's also part of human nature. We try to move on but the moving on it sounds trite after you spoke for weeks and months about the story and then the moment there's another story or you're out of out when you forget the last one there has to be a way which we retain the values or the loss or the essence of a story before we move on. I think media has a lot of responsibility in this because once they move on it's almost as though the other story didn't happen. And I always finish. I remember the the episode in the Simpsons where I forgot his name Kent Brockman I think is broadcasting about a huge fire. The fire goes out and he just drops the hype of a fire and goes on to something else as though the fire didn't even happen anymore. And that's really the truth. So I always urge people don't overdo the response because that is a guarantee that were burnt out and we'll will forget this will tritely remember it. But you're right. The next thing will be the next thing and then we won't go backwards. Humanity may have a flaw and which needs to do this but it's also the truth. And if instead of talking about every little gory detail of a story we talk about the essence and teach people how to help and how to heal and how to be responders and how to upgrade security and all that and the lessons of it will not be forgotten. And I think the humor. The sad morbid humor comes out of the fact that we just don't learn anything from the stories they just become stories and until they hurt us directly we're willing to forget them or engage them that will just turn on or off the TV. And it's sad. It's not a jerky thing at all it's actually very sad how trite even tragedy can become and how unfortunate people exploit tragedy. And then of course they move on because it's no longer case they've squeezed every ounce of possibility out of it.

 

Saul Colt: [00:38:59] Now I'm going to I'm not going to ask the last question it's sort of silly. We've had a really nice conversation. I do on and you know. Before I let you go and pay you a compliment. You know like when I think of my own faith I sort of describe myself as like Mel Brooks Jewish I you know I I maybe go to synagogue five six times a year I'm certainly not a regular I keep kosher in my home. I know all the prayers I know all the you know the stories and I'm like. But I like to say there's no one more Jewish than me because I really you know I identify by it even though you know I don't follow everything by the letter of the line. You know I'm not not doing all that stuff but you know like you know you and I have had a relationship I don't know how long you've been in the synagogue it's got to be 15 18 years now 20 years so you are kind of my faith. Like when I look to you because there are times where I I I wonder you know do I believe this or I believe that. But you know it's like I'll listen to one of your high holiday sermons and it cuts right through. And so like you know even though I'm not there very often and maybe I'm not the most you know religious but like you've had an enormous impact on me my family like a lot of people so I don't I know you probably get Coblentz all the time but it's still really you know it's worth mentioning that you've had an enormous impact on the way I think about certain things because you are so thoughtful and you know you're very non-traditional and you know sort of the premise of the show you know for people who are maybe listening the first time it's called you know now join the program already in progress and we just jump in. We don't do the formal introductions but you really are a very you know I think at the beginning people called non-traditional I think you've made your style you know traditional or or you've made it more commonplace and people don't scratch their heads and wonder Who is this maverick anymore. Because it's just it is. But but you know in a lot of respects you've made me more interested in causes about you know Judaism in Israel and things like that because you've made them interesting and made them more palatable so I don't know if people still compliment you or you've just become part of the world. You know the furniture that I hope you realize that you have had a huge impact on a lot of people.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:41:25] Saul thank you. It's great to get a compliment from you because I spent the whole show talking about how much I admire you but what I can say is thank you. And first of all sometimes when you've been around long enough they call you traditional did you mean your own missions have become traditional which is good because you're right initially everything I was doing was untraditional but now some of it is traditional and you're thinking about what I started on the other hand I've also become better at blending traditional and modern but most importantly I see this all the time and I mean it so you bring you bring yourself as your phone you bring it to me. My job is to charge you. It's not to tell you what to do with your phone. You can download any apps you can play any games you can write anything you want. If that is your life my job is to help energize the why not the what. And that's what I try to do. I really try hard sounds like I've succeeded with you and your family. It's a blessing for me to be able to have 20 years of continuous engagement and watch the progress both in myself and in our community and it's wonderful to hear that from you. So thank you for the opportunity.

 

Saul Colt: [00:42:37] To introduce yourself tell people who you are.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:42:42] I'm Rabbi Yossi Saperston. I grew up super ultra orthodox. I left home at 15. I found my way to the Beth Torah which was synagogue on the fringes of Toronto and very much at its last legs. And I have the gift and opportunity to rebuild it. And here I am 20 years later. Extremely fortunate to have a wonderful warm community around me. Our synagogues been very successful. I've recently founded Living Jewishly dot org. The place where people can go to engage in Jewish non-political non-religious experiences and it's thrilling to be able to add that layer to an already great synagogue. And I speak my mind. I tell it like it is. I grew up with the smartest and wisest rabbis on the planet. They give me great gifts and I try to use them well every day.

 

Saul Colt: [00:43:31] Awesome thank you so much for doing this.

 

Rabbi Yossi Saperman: [00:43:33] Thanks Saul Shabbat Shalom.

 

saul colt