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Karolyn Benger on Orthodoxy, Inclusion, and Prayer
Episode 2124th March 2022 • Conversation with the Rabbi • Rabbi Michael Beyo | PHX.fm
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Rabbi Michael Beyo and Dr. Adrian McIntyre talk with Karolyn Benger about orthodoxy, inclusion, and prayer.

Karolyn Benger is the principal of KB Enterprise, a consulting firm in Phoenix, AZ to nonprofit organizations specializing in social justice. Karolyn is a student at Yeshivah Maharat and was appointed by Phoenix’s Mayor to serve on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Phoenix. She serves on the Jewish Advisory Board for the Phoenix Police Department, the Arizona Interfaith Movement, is a member of the Valley Interfaith Project’s 3rd Monseigneur Ryle Public Policy Faith Leader Institute, a mentor in the Women’s Leadership Institute, and a board member of the Albert Einstein Academy, a new STEAM and Hebrew/Arabic language charter school being developed. She was the founding Executive Director of the newly created Jewish Community Relations Council in Phoenix and served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Interest Free Loan of Atlanta.

Ms. Benger is a graduate of Emory University with a degree in Political Science and a specialization in the Middle East where she studied Arab and Islamist opposition groups in Egypt. She has taught at Emory University, Georgia Tech, and Emerson College and is passionate about interfaith dialogue, race relations, and community relations between Jews and non-Jews. She regularly speaks on Women in Orthodoxy, Women in Islam, Democratization in the Middle East, Social Movements, Anti-Semitism, and Islamist organizations. Her publications can be found with Blue Avocado, eJewish Philanthropy, Kveller, Times of Israel, Binah, and the Arizona Republic.

Additional Resources:

Conversation with the Rabbi is a project of the East Valley Jewish Community Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, neighborhood organization that has served individuals and families inclusive of all races, religions, and cultures since 1972. Visit us online at https://www.evjcc.org

The Conversation with the Rabbi podcast is supported by a grant from Arizona Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.

The show is recorded and produced in the studio of PHX.fm, the leading independent B2B podcast network in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more at https://phx.fm

Transcripts

Announcer:

From PHX.fm, this is Conversation with the Rabbi, featuring open, honest dialogue and sometimes unconventional perspectives on the world we all share.

Adrian McIntyre:

Welcome to another Conversation with the Rabbi, I'm Adrian McIntyre. This show is hosted by Rabbi Michael Beyo, CEO of the East Valley Jewish Community Center. It's always a pleasure, Rabbi. Good morning, how are you?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Good morning, Adrian. Good to be again with you for another Conversation with the Rabbi.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well this is going to be an especially interesting one because our featured guest today is Karolyn Benger, and you know Karolyn very well. You live together. You are married.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Yes.

Adrian McIntyre:

And the topic for ...

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

That's the rumor in town, that we're married.

Adrian McIntyre:

That's what they say. I hear it on all the social networks. But Karolyn is not only a consultant, she's the principal of KB Enterprise, a consulting firm here in Phoenix. She works with nonprofit organizations specializing in social justice. She's also a deeply committed student of Judaism, a practitioner in a variety of ways. And we're going to talk about some things that are not controversial and maybe some things that are. Karolyn, so good to have you. Welcome to the show.

Karolyn Benger:

Thank you so much for having me. It's really a pleasure to be here.

Adrian McIntyre:

Now as an outsider, my role in this whole thing is I'm the curious anthropologist in the corner who gets to participate in these conversations. I was struck first of all, Karolyn, by your self-identification. When you submitted your information form and all the things we typically make guests do, you not only mentioned your professional work, you gave yourself a title as "wife of a rabbi." Can you speak a little bit about that as a part of your identity?

Karolyn Benger:

Yes. This is a tough one for me because I abhor the title Rebbetzin, and I usually reject it Rebbetzin meaning basically I'm married to a rabbi. And the reason that I abhor it and reject it is twofold. First, because I haven't ...

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

She can't stand me, so that's number one.

Karolyn Benger:

But the first is that it's not something that I earned on my own. We could get divorced and he could marry someone tomorrow and she'd have that title. It's not mine. So I really dislike it. And second, because in my mind, a Rebbetzin is really ... I think back to Rebbetzins in other communities, I'm thinking of one in particular, and they teach and they care for their community, and they carry on their shoulders the burden of their community members. But I put it on this podcast because I figured to some extent I do the second one. And for the sake of this conversation about prayer, I felt it was appropriate to have. In general, I don't go by the term Rebbetzin. So I'm good either way. Take it or leave it.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

So this is one of the areas where Karolyn and I disagree I think. I understand her reluctancy to use the title Rebbetzin for the first reason, meaning it's a title that she does not use, and I understand her pride in her own achievements. But I disagree with her on the second part because I think that she has more than earned her title Rebbetzin because of everything that she does for the community, more than 99% of other Rebbetzins in the world. So I think that she did earn that part of the title.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well it's interesting to me, and I know we have some really important stuff to talk about with regard to spiritual practice, a project you two are working on together. But I think that this is an interesting line of conversation, and I'll just share a little piece of my own experience. I was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is a Protestant Christian denomination. And this is a tradition that historically has not given pastoral titles to women and has in fact openly rejected attempts to ordain women into that ministry. It's also a tradition in which there were designated roles for the church ladies, let's call them, as well as for the wives, always wives, of the pastoral staff. And so what you're saying to me, even though I am not familiar with the Jewish tradition, is a form of practice rooted in a patriarchal tradition which I think many people today are trying to find their way with relationship too. I know in my own community, which I don't actively participate in, but I'm still very connected to through my parents and my upbringing and whatnot, there are many folks who without throwing away the proverbial baby with the bathwater are trying to find ways to respectfully move their institutions, because let's be clear, we're talking about human organizations and institutions in the way that they're structured and so on, roles are assigned. This is what Max Weber classically called bureaucracy, trying to move these institutions in more inclusive directions. Karolyn, that's something both specifically with regard to women, but also with regard to many other axes of difference you're actively involved in. Can you talk a little bit about those commitments?

Karolyn Benger:

Yes, absolutely, and I'm so glad you brought this up as you're talking. People listening can't see that I'm nodding vigorously. Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Latter-day Saints, I believe the Southern Baptists, they all are facing... Everyone is facing these challenges in modern times. How do we maintain true to our tradition, our core, while simultaneously adapting and recognizing that there needs to be more space for inclusivity? We need to allow women to express their faith. And for those who are more liberal leaning, what do we do with the topic of homosexuality in this space? There's a whole disabled community that in many ways in terms of how ritual practice is conducted might feel excluded and they need to find a way to be included. And I really think just speaking on behalf of women and as someone who identifies as a feminist, I firmly believe that the most interesting feminist work is being handled right now, the front lines in religious communities are among women of faith. And we're seeing these questions getting played out, not just in the Jewish world, in all worlds, because society is changing and institutions need to figure out how do we manage this? In Yeshivat Maharat, where I learn each morning about four hours a day before I start my work, they devoted a couple of days to disability inclusion and to have a full discussion on how do we as a community do better? How can we include? And it's very interesting because what I took away from that, obviously, there's logistical issues, the size of the bathroom to accommodate wheelchair use, accessibility issues of ramps, so on and so forth. But more than any of that, these are the non-important things. Everyone jumps to them. Well we don't have the money to do this. None of that really is the real issue. The real overarching issue is the attitude. And you have to ask, do we want to be inclusive or not? And I think in some communities, when it comes to certain issues, it's a clear yes. And other issues, it's a clear no. And there are many issues where there's the very murky gray. And if I may, I'll give one example. When we lived in Atlanta, I was attending a synagogue that I went to. And one Shabbat, they had a synagogue that was a day of inclusion and they wanted to highlight families who are managing, having differently abled members of their family. And I understand the point was to be inclusive and I walked away feeling incredibly offended, first because it felt like it was a parade. It was almost pornographic in how anyone with a disability... Well excuse me, not anyone and I'll clarify, those with a disability, that was the day they were given certain honors in synagogue. Well why aren't they given them all the time? Why just this one day? And what was really upsetting for me is I remember very clearly these differently abled men and boys, 13, being offered certain honors, some of which there's really no halakha, no Jewish law reason why a woman can't. And I remember in the women's section, because we have segregated seating in Orthodox communities, and the women's section, the front row was filled with women who also have a disability and they couldn't participate. And I had this weird moment, and I don't mean this to sound the way that it might on its surface sound, but I walked away from synagogue that day so offended, both because of what I understand as the lack of inclusivity the rest of the year, but also that my disability being a woman is even more than this other disability.

Adrian McIntyre:

Rabbi, you and I have talked on a number of occasions, offline and online, on the show and off-the-record, about the fact that the rabbinical tradition that you are so profoundly connected to through your training, through your experience, is also a tradition that is so multifaceted and has had to respond over the generations to so many changes in the world around the leadership of the Jewish community. Before we steer the topic to prayer, which may be something that at some level we should all be able to agree on, what are your thoughts about how to navigate the complex demands of our time? Some of the claims being posed by different segments of the community that you lead and serve? This is not a simple thing, to maintain a connection, a commitment to the core of your tradition, and at the same time, to acknowledge that there are now claims and demands and conversations that were never addressed before and now they're being addressed. What are your thoughts?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

This is a very complex topic. It's a Pandora's Box topic. It's one of those topics that you need to deal with, especially when you are a leader in a community. You have to deal with it, but you wish that you don't have to. There is a tension. There is a constant tension I think in any tradition, whether it is political, religious, cultural, but I'll speak specifically for Judaism. There is an inherent tension between maintaining the tradition as my great, great, great, great fathers did, whether that is the truth or whether it is a myth. And the reasons are clear because by claiming to behave and do and believe exactly like my ancestors did gives a level of legitimacy to what I do or believe, et cetera. And then at the same time, for those who have studied Jewish religion and Jewish history, and more importantly, the development of Jewish law, it is undeniable that the Jewish law has been adapting itself throughout the times and generations in various multifaceted ways. And so then the question becomes then how do you reconcile these two points, maintaining tradition, like Fiddler on the Roof tradition, or changing because you need to adapt to changing times, changing sociocultural, historical developments that are happening and therefore make religion more relevant again. And at the same time, there is also the question of if we're going to do changes, what is the proper process for changes? So there are two questions here. One is the theological, philosophical questions whether there should be changes, and the other is a tactical question of if we are going to do changes, what is the proper process? I'll give an analogy. In the United States, the Supreme Court said that gay marriages are legal. It took many years of processes through various lower courts until the case goes to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court gives their opinion, their legal opinion, that then becomes accepted. There is a certain process that needs to be followed. And if you do not follow that process, the entire conversation may lose its founding, its footing. So those are two different topics that need to be discussed.

Adrian McIntyre:

I agree. And I would also add from my own personal point of view that activists, reformers, those are not the same thing, have always had to grapple with questions related to the established power structure, whether it's in civil rights and/or social justice movements, the question remains an open question, at least for some. What do you do when the power structure that has created the, "Legitimate avenues for redress," may itself be tainted by the very thing one's trying to address?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

You are raising a wonderful question if we were talking about a social movement, a political question. Here, we're talking about the legitimacy of change within the system that those who want to change want to maintain the system. Meaning if I come now and I say, "I want to make changes. I don't care whether the majority or minority of legal scholars in this field in Judaism agree or disagree with my opinion, I'm going to create a new category, a new denomination because I don't care whether or not I maintain the structure." That's open to anybody to do. Anybody can come up tomorrow and claim that they are Jewish and that their form of Judaism is legitimate.

Karolyn Benger:

I think you're both saying in a way the same thing, if I can just tweak a little bit. So first of all, I would say that those reformers advocating for change within the system, I would say it is a social movement. Just because they're not looking to upend, uproot the system doesn't mean it's not. It is a social movement, but there is ...

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

But that's why it's not legitimate.

Karolyn Benger:

There is always a tension among activists between those who are in the street and want to protest and those who are trying to affect policy change. But within the realm of the Orthodox system, I think you also find these two tensions. You find the ones who, as Michael said, might not care and say, "Okay, we'll start a new thing." And you have that. And you also have those who do care very much and want to find a systemic way, a systemic justification for the change. The issue that I would argue that we're facing is because those in power are currently not addressing these issues in a systemic way, the issues are becoming addressed I would say, bediavad, after the fact it's coming out. Think at the grassroots level, people and groups are doing things that later it may get decided are outside or inside where those lines are. But the people in charge are not making the decisions.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Karolyn, I don't disagree with what you just described, but what I was making the point is even before we get to here. You're describing what's happening on the ground. I was discussing the step before it.

Karolyn Benger:

I understand.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Whether there is or there is no legitimacy. And different people will have different opinions. So for example, the overwhelming majority of institutions that are Orthodox, that self-define themself as Orthodox and that are recognized by the others as being Orthodox, the overwhelming majority of these institutions don't want change. There is for better or for worse Orthodoxy in Judaism, which is a movement that started about 250 years ago as a counter-reaction to Reform Judaism, has become entrenched in not wanting to change.

Adrian McIntyre:

Can we talk about this for a minute? Because I would like to address or have you actually address some of the perceptions that might be misunderstandings, that might be stereotypes, I don't know, about the different spectrums in which one finds one's self. So we have the established Jewish denominations, some of which are labeled in particular ways by insiders and by outsiders that people might not agree with. We also have other spectrums that are commonly being discussed, let's say from conservative, to liberal, to progressive, even. And obviously, there's many other layers too. These things don't always line up in neat ways. So my question on this issue of Orthodox Judaism and what you're describing as a conservative orientation, in other words, preserving tradition, so we're using the very generic sense of the word "conservative" here.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Yes.

Adrian McIntyre:

Also seems to have within it expressions that would be what we would call progressive. Karolyn, it sounds to me as if you're speaking from a progressive and yet committed Orthodox point of view. I may be completely off-base on this, but can you, Karolyn, please just address how you see some of these axes of difference? And then rabbi, I'd love to hear your response on this as well.

Karolyn Benger:

This is a tough one because, labels ... labels.

Adrian McIntyre:

For sure.

Karolyn Benger:

So Orthodoxy, as my husband said, it pretty much emerged 200 years ago and it emerged in reaction to reform Judaism. Prior to Reform Judaism, we were all just Jews and we followed the laws. Reform Judaism emerged, and that's its own story I won't go into, and Orthodoxy really emerged as a reactive anti-that, anti-reform movement doubling down on we don't want change. And for better or for worse, over the course of the years in the face of some of very serious identity challenges, women's movement, Israel, Holocaust, everything, Orthodoxy has really struggled very hard in the face of rapid societal change to stay the same. And within Orthodoxy, there are many different labels that can be applied for how one identifies themselves within. On one end, you have what in America we call Ultra-Orthodoxy. To the far end, which sometimes is called Open Orthodoxy, that many, many within Orthodoxy itself would argue Open Orthodox isn't even Orthodox. Those like myself, I call myself Modern Orthodox. And this is seen as left of center. Ultra-Orthodox is seen as right of center. The problem being, in my opinion, over the years, we have lost what is the center. And it seems to me that the center is shifting more and more and more to the right. And what I am concerned about actually is a split happening within Orthodoxy because of our inability to accept each other under this big tent umbrella,

Adrian McIntyre:

Rabbi, thoughts?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Yeah. This description that my wife gave, I think it's very accurate. I think that there is also some differences between what happens in America is slightly different than what happens in Israel or in Europe or in South America. But more or less, my wife's description is very accurate. And the question then becomes who decides? See, one issue that I was raising earlier is that the change needs to be done according to a certain process, a legitimate process. The question is who decides what is legitimate? So that's the third level of problem. We have the first level, which is whether we should have changed, the second level is how you apply change and then is who decides that the process is the correct process? Ultimately, it's a huge mess. What I can tell you is that coming from where I come, I come, as you know, from a very Conservative Ultra-Orthodox upbringing, Haredi upbringing. And for many years, I left that world and I've always struggled with the definition of Modern Orthodox. I don't consider myself Modern Orthodox. And over the last few years, I have rejected even the definition of Orthodox for myself. And I have embraced a definition that I am a Sephardi rabbi, that is in short. And if somebody wants the longer version, then I am a Jew that tries to live my life according to Jewish law and fail miserably every day. I wanted to go away from the internal sometimes petty political fighting between Orthodoxy, Ultra-Orthodoxy, Modern Orthodoxy, Open Orthodoxy, Conservative, Conservadox, Reform, and all of that. And I wanted to step out of it. And since people love definitions, I reclaimed a definition that belongs to me even in my DNA. I'm a Sephardi Jew, where all of these denominations don't exist in the Sephardi world because Orthodoxy and Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism are products of European Ashkenazi Jewry. And in the Sephardi world, I am a Jew. I am a more traditionalist, less traditionalist, but that's what I am. I am a Sephardi Jew. I think that Karolyn wanted to say something.

Karolyn Benger:

Yes. I just wanted to throw another complication into the picture. When you talk about who is making these decisions, historically it has been our rabbis, our leading rabbis, and this is also part of a systemic problem, especially today where we don't have clear who is the leader? Who is leading us? There isn't clarity on that number one. And number two, when we're talking about decisions about inclusivity, when the decision-makers themselves are not... When we don't have a system in place to hear from those who aren't included, then we have another problem because we don't have a system in place for our rabbis to listen to those who aren't represented right now in making that decision. And it's challenging. Now, a good rabbi does listen. A good rabbi will have a relationship that enables them to take into account. Unfortunately, because the system is what it is, number one, not all rabbis are good by rabbis and number two, we have added these extra stringencies that remove women. Ultimately, they remove women from having a relationship with their rabbi for the sake of modesty. And it creates an additional burden and hurdle on both parties for them to be heard and for them to listen.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

I just would like to add one thing. I think that we're touching on so many points that each one is an episode on itself and it's a world on itself. They're all good points, but I think that we're going to need many more episodes to uncover and have a fuller discussion on these topics. Let's talk a little bit about a project that we both are working on.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well let me say before you do that, because I think our audience is keen to hear about the project. And I also want to acknowledge that rabbi, what you just said I think encapsulates the challenge of life itself, which is that conversations are openings and beginnings and they are by their nature unruly and include hanging threads and open loops and tangled messes of half-baked thoughts. And it's only by continuing to engage over time and perhaps even exceeding the span of... Well certainly exceeding the span of anyone's actual lifetime that these things play out. So I, as your sidekick on this show, want to acknowledge your willingness to even engage in this format, which by its very nature is not definitive and de-centers, to a certain degree, the authority that you might comfortably have in other circumstances is one of the things that makes these conversations interesting. And it's been very civilized today and I'm sure that if the gloves were off, this conversation between the two of you who share so much and yet diverge on so much might be a different conversation. But there is something that unites you. There's many things that unite you. But the one that you wanted to talk about today is the prayer book project. So tell us a little bit about that and why this is important to you and what it's like working together on this.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

So ever since I can remember myself, I've always had a problem with prayer. I struggle with prayer. Prayer is not something that comes easy to me. It actually comes very difficult for me. Studying comes very easy for me. I can sit and study Jewish texts for 15 hours a day and want more. And prayer is tough. It's a challenge. And in Judaism, there are three prescribed prayers a day and those are very challenging for me. And if you go to a service, those services can last even an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon and another half an hour in the evening. And sometimes, I would sit there, like, give me a knife, I want to cut my veins. Or I would just sit and not know what to do because it's challenging for me. And it's challenging for theological reasons because, as I say, I speak to God every day, I have not heard an answer yet. Meaning I don't think that prayer, that the concept of prayer is me communicating to God something that God does not know and then hoping that God will realize the mistake that he has done based upon my prayer, and then change the decision that he or she may have decided for the world. So just to explain what I mean, if there is a drought in Africa and millions of kids are dying from starvation, and I pray to God, "Please God, the Lord of the universe, make it so that there is a storm now in Africa and so that then the drought will stop," I don't think that God will say, "Oh, look, Rabbi Beyo, you just made a great point. I haven't thought about it earlier. Let now end a drought in Africa." I don't think it works that way. And therefore, I am not communicating anything to God that God does not know already, I do not have the presumption of thinking that I'm going to change God's mind. I do not have the presumption of thinking that I'm going to change the laws of nature either. So if somebody is sick, I don't think that my prayer will make God decide to take away the cancer from a 16-year-old boy. And so why prayer? Well there are different reasons that are given in Judaism why we pray. But ultimately for me, prayer is an introspection. In fact, even the word in Hebrew is "lehitpallel." It's reflective. It's an introspection. So some people meditate. And in our tradition, we have to pray. We have to say certain words. We have to say certain prayers. But the goal is not to think that I am communicating something to God. The idea is that I am taking the time to think about how I am behaving during my day and what steps I need to make in order to behave better, that's one level. And contemporary at the same time is the realization of the awesomeness of this universe, that it's so beautiful in all of its intricacies, that I am in awe of God, call it God, call it Allah, call it the Lord, whatever you want to call it. And so the idea of the project is to create a prayer book that will allow a person to do that within 15 minutes, no more. High-intensity tefillah.

Karolyn Benger:

So as mentioned, this is one area where we agree. I have very similar thoughts about prayer. My theology is not that, you know, if God is, whatever God is, if it's perfect, there is no changing of the mind. If five people pray that someone's going to get well, oh, wait, but no, now there's 10. Oh, oh, that's the magic number, boom, that person's cured. No, I don't believe that. I believe that prayer is a practice, not to make light of it, but in the way that one would approach a yoga practice or a meditation practice. It is something you have to do regularly to achieve the benefits of it. And I think those benefits are simultaneously individual and communal. Individually as it is a practice, like a yoga or meditative practice, it's, like my husband said, a time of introspection and it gives you the opportunity to reflect and clarify on yourself, on your behavior, on your actions, to check yourself if you will. Community wise, there are these prescribed prayers that you are instructed to say, different from a yoga or a meditative practice, where I would say what comes to me or what feels right for me. This is an opportunity to connect back to a people and thousands of years of history. And it's also deeply gratifying. So you're simultaneously pursuing an individual practice to hopefully, I hate to use the word elevate, but to be reflected on yourself, cleanse yourself if you will. But it's also connecting you to community. And for me personally, why I'm interested in the Siddur Project is one, I'm interested in connecting to people who don't normally pray and who feel that the current prayer books offered to them are exclusive and they're exclusionary, or who feel that their synagogues are exclusive. I have many memories of when I was first entering Orthodox synagogues of coming in and being completely lost and having absolutely no idea what was going on. And even today, while I can follow a service, I very often don't feel that I fit in that space, and I prefer to pray at home. And my hope for this prayer book is that it opens up the opportunity of prayer more easily. It's an easily accessible way for a person at any level or stage of life to feel comfortable taking that introspection in a prescribed communal way.

Adrian McIntyre:

How do you approach a project like this? How do you do the work? What's the timeline? Obviously, the commitments you both just expressed so eloquently are very inspiring and uplifting and it has to translate into production of an object in the world to accomplish those goals. How does it happen?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

So the first stage was to pick those prescribed prayers that we think are the essence of communal and individual prayer. Pick those, and that's where we are at the moment. And the next step will be to add this other layer that we were just discussing.

Adrian McIntyre:

Will that be in the form of commentary, guidance, notes to the reader? How do you approach that?

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

A little bit of both and it will probably come from myself and Karolyn, maybe we will also quote some other thinker, rabbi, philosopher, et cetera.

Karolyn Benger:

I would like to include quotes from others, standing on the shoulders of giants if you will, that will help people in their introspection and if they need some emotional uplift, it might provide that.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

And the way that I see it is that it's going to have a version one and then a version two. I would like to publish the version one, give it in the hands of my community members to use it, and then I would like them maybe six months later to put their commentary. So it becomes a communal Siddur, a communal prayer book made of different voices, but that they all pray together and all pray as commanded and prescribed by Jewish tradition.

Adrian McIntyre:

I think there's no question that regardless of one's orientation in the world, one's participation in any number of traditions, that a contemplative, meditative, reflexive practice is good for oneself and for the world. And I applaud your efforts to bring a unique framework to a very well-established tradition and try to create within it space for people to find themselves and find their way forward together.

Rabbi Michael Beyo:

Thank you.

Adrian McIntyre:

Karolyn Benger is the principal of KB Enterprise, a consulting firm in Phoenix, Arizona to nonprofit organizations who specialize in social justice. She is also the wife of Rabbi Michael Beyo, who is the host of our show and CEO of the East Valley JCC. Thank you both for participating in this conversation with a certain degree of restraint and yet letting some of your differences shine through. I think it's a real contribution to everyone that you joined us today. Thanks, Karolyn.

Karolyn Benger:

Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Adrian McIntyre:

If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe to Conversation with the Rabbi on your favorite podcast app. You can also find the latest episodes online at conversationwiththerabbi.com. For all of us here at PHX.fm, I'm Adrian McIntyre. Thanks for listening and please join us for the next Conversation with the Rabbi.