Lawrence Kushner was influenced, like every modern student of Kabbalah, by a Jewish historian and philosopher named Gershom Scholem. He was born in 1897 and died in 1982, and literally resurrected this tradition from obscurity. It’s in honor of Gershom Scholem’s legacy that we've created this show. It's in the spirit of Kabbalah — which wraps teachings in teachings, wisdom in wisdom, life within life — that we get to know Scholem through the living ideas of this rabbi in his lineage. But we also offer these other windows onto Scholem's legacy, and we will continue to build on this exploration in coming months.
The Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah is a rich, magnetic world of thought and teaching. It has resonance with modern understandings of reality — and describes a cosmic significance to the practical moral call to tikkun olam, "repair the world." Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is a long-time student and articulator of the mysteries and messages of Kabbalah. We speak with him in honor of the 20th-century historian Gershom Scholem, who resurrected this tradition from obscurity and made it accessible to modern people.
The director of the Gershom Scholem Library at the National Library of Israel discusses the life and legacy of the man who resurrected Kabbalah in the 20th century. With senior producer Lily Percy, Dr. Leshem talks about Scholem's fanatic love of collecting Jewish books and the "Sholem system" of classification.
Dr. Bernard McGinn is a historian, scholar, and theologian at the University of Chicago. Senior producer Lily Percy speaks with him on the academic legacy of Gershom Scholem and his impact on modern scholarship of Kabbalah.
This rough archival audio of the late 20th-century historian and scholar of Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem, was recorded at the Panarion conference of Jungian thought in 1975 in Los Angeles.
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About the Image
Visitors engage with Jim Campbell's "Scattered Light" exhibit at the 2011 Northern Spark festival in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The exhibit features 1,536 LEDs encased in standard light bulbs and suspended in mid-air. The LED bulbs are programmed so that, when viewed up close, they 'play back' previously recorded video footage in very low resolution. From other points of view, the outdoor sculpture is just scattered light.
Voices on the Radio
Host/Executive Producer: Krista Tippett
Executive Editor: Trent Gilliss
Senior Producer: Lily Percy
Technical Director: Chris Heagle
Associate Producer: Mariah Helgeson
Rabbi Heschel marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., famously reporting that he felt like his legs were praying. Heschel practiced what he called “radical amazement” in his work with religious others. “The opposite of good is not evil,” he said, “it is indifference.”
The 13th-century Muslim mystic and poet Rumi has long shaped Muslims around the world and has now become popular in the West. Rumi created a new language of love within the Islamic mystical tradition of Sufism. We hear his poetry as we delve into his world and listen for its echoes in our own.