Reuven Bulka

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Reuven P. Bulka CM (born June 6, 1944, London, England)[1] is a rabbi, writer, broadcaster and activist in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and former co-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He received his Rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Jacob Joseph Rabbinical Seminary in New York City, and his Ph.D.degree from the University of Ottawa in 1971, concentrating on the Logotherapy of Viktor Frankl. He has been the Rabbi of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967.

Writing and broadcast work[edit]

Rabbi Bulka was the founder and editor of the Journal of Psychology and Judaism. He has contributed scholarly and popular articles to various journals, including the Association of Mental Health Clergy Forum,[2] Analecta Frankliana, Chronicle Review, Humanitas, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Midstream and Pastoral Psychology,[3] among others.

He was also the host of the TV series, In Good Faith and continues to host the weekly radio call-in program Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka on CFRA in Ottawa,[4] and was host of the weekly radio Jewish culture and music program JEW-BILATION on CJLL-FM.[5] He is a regular columnist for the Ottawa Citizen's "Ask the Religion Experts" feature. Bulka is the author and/or editor of over 35 books, including his most auto-biographical work, Turning Grief into Gratitude.[6]

Interfaith[edit]

In 2009, he called on the leadership of the Catholic Church in Canada to follow the lead of bishops in France, Belgium and Germany, among other countries, in denouncing the Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism of Bishop Richard Williamson and in reaffirming in no uncertain terms that such hateful views have no place in the Church.[7]

Position on homosexuality[edit]

Bulka formerly sat on the "Scientific Advisory Committee" of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a social conservative group that believes homosexuality can be cured.[8] In his book One Man, One Woman, One Lifetime Bulka writes that gay Jews have a mandate "to improve on who you are, through the exercise of free will, and with the help of mental health professionals and spiritual advisors."[8]

Laura Schlessinger[edit]

For several years, Bulka was spiritual advisor to American radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger and, in 1998, converted her and her family to Orthodox Judaism. In 2003, Schlessinger announced she was no longer a practicing Jew leaving Bulka "stunned".[9]

Organizations[edit]

He is on the editorial boards of Tradition, SASSON Magazine, Journal of Religion and Health, International Forum for Logotherapy and Pastoral Psychology. Rabbi Bulka was also the Chairman, RCA Publications Committee, Past Chairman, Rabbinic Cabinet, State of Israel Bonds. He was the President of the International Rabbinic Forum of Keren HaYesod - United Israel Appeal, and the founder of Clergy for a United Canada.

Rabbi Dr. Bulka is or has been Chairman of Trillium Gift of Life Network (2007),[10] co-President of the Canadian Jewish Congress (2007–2009),[11] chairman of the Religious and Inter-Religious Affairs Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, chairman of the Canadian Christian-Jewish Consultation, co-chairman of the Ottawa World Jewry Committee (formerly Ottawa Soviet Jewry Committee), founder and chair of Ottawa Kindness Week (2008),[12] Honorary Chaplain of the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, and has also been involved with a number of other service organizations. He is a member of the board of Canadian Blood Services and chairs the Hospice Ottawa West campaign. Previously he chaired the Courage Campaign for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation which raised $25 million for cancer care.

Awards[edit]

Bulka is a recipient of the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (January 1993) as well as the Beryl Plumptre Award of Excellence from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Eastern Ontario Branch (1998). He has also been awarded the Gilbert Greenberg Distinguished Service Award of the Ottawa Jewish Community (1999), the Mayor's Award for Community Service (1999), the Bronfman Medal from the Canadian Jewish Congress. He was named the honorary principal of SAR Academy in Riverdale, New York (February 2009).

In 2006 he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Carleton University[13] The honour generated protests from lesbian and gay rights groups due to Bulka's then association with the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, a group which claims it can cure homosexuality through psychotherapy.[14]

On February 18, 2010, he was awarded the Key to The City of Ottawa,[15] the highest honour that the city can bestow. He has also received the Queen's medals for her 25th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries.

On June 28, 2013, Rabbi Bulka was appointed to the Order of Canada.[16]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Ed Morgan
Co-President of the Canadian Jewish Congress
with Sylvain Abitbol

2007-2009
Succeeded by
Mark Freiman