Irwin Kula

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Rabbi Irwin Kula at the first annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards in 2010.

Irwin Kula (born November 29, 1957) is an American rabbi and author, currently serving as the president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL). In 2008, he was listed as 7th in Newsweek’s “50 most influential rabbis” list.[1]


Kula received his B.A. in Philosophy from Columbia University, B.H.L. from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA), and M.A. in Rabbinics and Rabbinic Ordination from the JTSA.


Kula is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: CLAL’s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals and Blessings. Kula is also the co-host of the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula (KXL, Portland, OR).

He is a blogger for The Huffington Post and the WashingtonPost/’s “On Faith” column, and has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as on The O'Reilly Factor and Frontline.

Kula is also currently an adjunct faculty member at United Theological Seminary, teaching courses in practical theology.[2]

In 2003, Kula hosted a 13-part public TV series, Simple Wisdom with Irwin Kula, and had a public TV special called The Hidden Wisdom of Our Yearnings. He was also featured in the 2004 film, Time for a New God,

Interfaith relations[edit]

Kula has expressed opposition at proposals for the beatification of Pope Pius XII, who was bishop of Rome during the challenging eras of the Second World War and the Cold War.[3] In January 2009, he also argued that the Jewish reaction to the lifting of the excommunication of bishop Richard Williamson was rather disproportionate.[4] In July 2010 he strongly criticized the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights organization, for its opposition to the construction of Cordoba House, an Islamic cultural center and mosque planned to be built near the World Trade Center site in New York City.[5]


Kula also a recipient of 2008 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award.[6]

Kula was named as one of the leaders shaping the American spiritual landscape by both Fast Company magazine and PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

Kula received a “Books for a Better Life” award,[7] and his book "Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life" was selected by Spirituality and Health Magazine as one the 10 Best Spiritual Books of 2006.[8]


External links[edit]