Ben Kamin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rabbi Ben Kamin

Ben Kamin (born in 1953) is a rabbi, teacher, counselor, and the prize-winning author of eleven books on human values. He is a scholar on Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. He has led congregations in Toronto, New York, Cleveland, and San Diego since his ordination in 1978. He has published over 1000 articles about community life in newspapers around the world, ranging from The New York Times to The International Herald Tribune. He has been quoted in the Ann Landers column[1] and in the Congressional Record. He appears frequently on radio and television and serves on several national boards dealing with community affairs and interfaith relations. He is the father of two adult children and lives in San Diego. Rabbi Kamin holds the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hebrew Union College.

In 2007, Ben Kamin was elected to the American Society of Journalists and Authors. His memoir, Nothing Like Sunshine: A Story in the Aftermath of the MLK Assassination," was published in 2010 by Michigan State University Press. A documentary based upon the book is being planned by Enduring Freedom Productions. Kamin resigned from the San Diego Rabbinical Association after creating, in 2004, an independent agency that services interfaith situations called Reconciliation: The Synagogue Without Walls.[2] Kamin has auditioned on the Broadway stage and was one of 25 finalists for the position of Commissioner of Baseball in 1993.

He spoke at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 2010, the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., introducing his memoir, "Nothing Like Sunshine: A Story in the Aftermath of the MLK Assassination." Kamin launched his next book, "ROOM 306: The National Story of the Lorraine Motel," at the National Civil Rights Museum on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of MLK assassination, April 4, 2012. The book won an "IPPY" Prize in Multicultural Nonfiction in 2013.

In 2014, Kamin was commissioned to write the autobiography of Lou Dunst, a survivor of four Nazi death camps and two near-miss gas chamber experiences, and now an inspirational speaker espousing tolerance and unity. The book, "My Bargain With God: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Lou Dunst," was published by Sunbelt in January 2014.

Kamin has taught about MLK and civil rights at colleges around the nation, including the University of California San Diego, Hiram College in Ohio, Roanoke College in Virginia, Point Loma University (Nazarene), and MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Ca.

Kamin's tenth book, "DANGEROUS FRIENDSHIP: Stanley Levison, Martin Luther King Jr., and The Kennedy Brothers," is also to be released by Michigan State University Press on April 1, 2014. It will be launched at the Martin Luther King Research and Education Institute, the home of the King Papers, at Stanford University that month. An option for a motion picture based on this book has been purchased and Kamin is co-writing the screenplay with A2 Productions of Los Angeles.

Kamin's newest book, 'I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE: Making Spiritual Peace With Your Religion" was published in February 2016 by Central Recovery Press. It has been cited by Hillel International President and former US Congressman Eric Fingerhut as "inclusive" and "enlightened."

Kamin, along with longtime MLK attorney Clarence B. Jones, addressed the March on Washington Film Festival at the Smithsonian Institution in July 2016 about Kamin's book, 'DANGEROUS FRIENDSHIP,' and the Stanley Levison story. Kamin was invited to speak about the legacy of Dr. King at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for its MLK Day Celebration in January 2017.


  • Stones in the soul: one day in the life of an American rabbi, Macmillan Publishing, 1990

"a sweeping account of the making of a rabbi in America, and, in a sense, an apology for the separate peace that a modern rabbi must make with God if he is to survive at all."[3]

  • Raising a thoughtful teenager: a book of answers and values for parents, Dutton, 1996

"The rabbi has not written a chapter-and-verse, throw-the-book-at-them advice book. He presents a gentler but well-grounded alternative."[4]

  • Thinking Passover: a rabbi's book of holiday values, Dutton, 1997

In this book, Kamin "weaves his own Israeli origin and early upbringing and his parents' participation in the struggle for Israel's independence into the biblical Passover story."[5]

  • The Spirit Behind the News, Muffin Dog Press, 2009
  • Nothing like sunshine: a story in the aftermath of the MLK assassination, Michigan State University Press, 2010

"Through the filter of nearly 40 years of his own life, R Kamin explores American race relations, the rapid social change of the 1960s, and his efforts to model his own spiritual life after that of King's."[6]


  1. ^ Landers, Ann (October 24, 1988). "Ann Landers Answers Your Problems". Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved May 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Reconciliation Resolve". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. 
  3. ^ Kirsch, Jonathan (September 26, 1990). "BOOK REVIEW Makings of a Modern Rabbi STONES IN THE SOUL: One Day in the Life of an American Rabbi by Ben Kamin; Macmillan; $18.95, 242 pages". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Dallas Morning News (April 20, 1996). "WHEN CHILDREN ASK, THEY WANT ANSWERS". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  5. ^ Zoberman, Israel (April 6, 1998). "PASSOVER, FOR JEW AND GENTILE". Virginian-Pilot. Norfolk, Virginia. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ Guth, Amy (January 17, 2011). "Martin Luther King Jr. Day reading list: Essential reading for Martin Luther King Jr. Day". Chicago Tribune. Chicago. Retrieved May 13, 2011.