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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


 

November 19, 2010  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

LA rabbi at Star Event in Tampa says faith makes life matter

By ROBERT GREEN Jewish Press

Faith can help give meaning to our lives and help us appreciate the good things we have, nationally known author and Rabbi David Wolpe told Schaarai Zedek Sisterhood members and guests at the annual Star Event luncheon Nov. 15.

“One of the reasons faith matters is not only to get you through difficult times, but also to encourage the appreciation of beautiful things,” Rabbi Wolpe, named Newsweek’s 2008”#1 Pulpit Rabbi in America” told an audience of about 200 at the Renaissance Hotel at International Plaza in Tampa.

He said most people say “Why me?” when they have a tragedy or illness. But few of them will question having a loving family or a comfortable life.

“What faith does is not necessarily guarantee a friction free life but helps give you the strength to believe that whatever happens to you can be made meaningful. Not can be made good, but can be made meaningful,” said Wolpe, the head rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, a Conservative congregation.

He speaks from experience as is evident in his new book, his seventh, Why Faith Matters, a personal faith journey. His has been a difficult one at times. He has had a brain operation to remove a benign tumor and chemotherapy to treat lymphatic cancer, which is in remission.

The son of a rabbi, Rabbi Wolpe became an atheist when he was a teenager but regained his faith after college.

“Everyone here has or will have losses. The question is given that life is loss, how do you make it meaningful? How do you do something good with it?” he said.

“What religion is essentially about is that which is intangible is greater than what we can see,” Rabbi Wolpe said.

He said this belief in the intangible is why there are no statues in synagogues. “If you want to see an image of God, look in the eyes of the person next to you,” he said.

To atheists and others who say religion causes wars, Rabbi Wolpe said some of the bloodiest regimes in history such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and Cambodia under Pol Pot were atheistic. He said most wars were based on issues such as land and power rather than religion.

The Star Event is the Sisterhood’s major fundraiser of the year benefitting local, national and international agencies.

Deborah Rosenthal was event chair.


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