Temple Beth-El welcomes Rabbi Irwin Kula, a nationally recognized spiritual leader and author, to Birmingham. Rabbi Kula’s book Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life, has won a “Books for a Better Life” award and was named one of the “Best Spiritual Books of 2006” by Spirituality & Health. As a Scholar-in-Residence, Rabbi Kula will share his message of hope and spiritual growth at a range of programs open to the entire community. For a complete bio on Rabbi Kula, click here. For a press release on the Scholar-in-Residence weekend, click here.

Program Topics and Schedule

Friday, May 1

Beyond Tribe and Creed: Religion as a Path to Human Flourishing

We are at the beginning of demographic, sociological and technological transformations that are dramatically altering the ways people create their identities, form communities and make meaning. Every domain is being affected, including newspapers and music, retail and government, taxis and hotels, health and education, among others. What are the implications for the products, services and delivery systems,  and the resources, insights and teachings of religion?

Oneg-Reception/Kabbalat Shabbat Service and D’var Torah: 5:30-7:15 pm

Shabbat Service and Presentation: 6:00 pm

Location: Temple Beth-El, 2179 Highland Ave. S.


Saturday, May 2

The Technology of Mitzvot: Is There an App for That?

Using the lenses of Innovation Theory and Positive Psychology, we will explore a new way to understand the purpose of Jewish practice. How does Jewish practice work? What job(s) are Jewish practices actually designed to get done for us? What practices work and don’t work to enhance our lives? How do we know? How can we become more active in the design of Jewish practices that are more accessible, usable and good enough to get the job done and help us flourish?

Service: 9:30 am with Kiddush Luncheon to follow

Location: Temple Beth-El


Sunday May 3

Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life

One of the keys to happiness is understanding how our desires and yearnings work. Our desires – whether for love, happiness or truth, to be good, creative or self-aware – are never fully, once and for all, realized. They disappoint us and push us, frustrate us and inspire us. Once we know this, our desires and yearnings can become incredible sources of wisdom to help us know ourselves better, live more fearlessly and joyfully, act more ethically and love more passionately.

Light Breakfast: 9:30 am

Presentation and Book Discussion: 10:00 am

Location: Independent Presbyterian Church

3100 Highland Avenue S., Birmingham, AL 35205

**Childcare will be available at all events.**

Our Scholar-in-Residence Weekend is made possible in part by the generous support of the Temple Beth-El Foundation, the Birmingham Jewish Foundation and the Independent Presbyterian Church Focus on Faith Committee.

Click here for more information about joining a book review gathering with Temple Beth-El and Independent Presbyterian Church members during the month of April.