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Where Genealogy and Spirit Connect, October 27, 2009

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Courtesy of BBS Radio

On, Where Genealogy and Spirit Connect
on BBS Radio

With Host Susan E. King
Rabbi Michael Zimmerman


October 27, 2009

Rabbi Zimmerman and Susan will have a lengthy debate on the importance of genealogy in spirituality and understanding self as well as what has happened to spirituality in organized religion. We will discuss some of our future plans to engage more clergy, spiritualists and genealogists in the topic "Where genealogy and spirit connect".

Rabbi Michael Zimmerman joined Kehillat Israel in Lansing, Michigan as its spiritual leader in 2003, after serving as our student rabbi. He is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, where his studies and his heart were set on congregational work from the outset. A Chicago native, he brings to his rabbinic career a diverse background in consulting, human development, and education, especially with adult learners and the elderly.

Among his goals are helping his vibrant community grow and flourish into the next generation, and welcoming a growing and increasingly diverse Jewish community into our midst.

Rabbi Zimmerman also serves as a member of the Chaplaincy Advisory Council for the State of Michigan's Department of Corrections, a hospice chaplain, and a spokesman for the Michigan Interfaith Climate Energy Campaign. After living in various locations in the United States and abroad, he now lives in a farmhouse outside of Lansing with his wife Elischa, daughter Lili, two rabbits, and a cat.

A Message from Rabbi Zimmerman

Rabbi Levi taught that God appeared to the multitudes at Sinai as a statue with faces on every side, so that even if a thousand people were looking at the statue, each one would believe that the statue was looking at him or her. I hope never to forget that each person sees a different face of God, and that my role is to honor and support every person's unique relationship with the Divine. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever before to embrace diversity of personal circumstance, values, and faith. We must swing wide open the doors of God's house of prayer to all who gather in good faith and grace our communities with their presence.

I aspire to a rabbinate of head, heart and spirit, of joyful laughter and the inner depths of the soul, of smashing idols and speaking tender words of comfort. The Torah I revere is the Torah that unites humanity and tramples cruelty. This is the Torah that, according to Rabbi Yishma'el, is given to us in order "to smash the ear." While the ear attuned to the literal and the mundane hears separateness and ruthlessness in the words of Torah, the ear that has been "smashed open" by the text itself hears the still, small voice of love, wisdom, and possibility.

"For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus declares Adonai, who gathers the dispersed of Israel: I will gather even more to those who are gathered." Isaiah 56:7-8

Where Genealogy and Spirit Connect

Show Host

Susan is a Genealogy columnist with The Examiner. As the Genealogy Examiner, Susans column covers cover the gamut of genealogical topics with a rare twist. Through this column Susan will be building a deeper understanding of the spiritual journey of finding our ancestors and finding ourselves. Through a deeper understanding of our history and the history of others will we be.

We live in both very exciting times and very troubling times. But we live in a time where we really do have an opportunity to change; change how we think and feel about ourselves; change how we think and feel about others. We have an opportunity to teach the next generations the importance of preservation, the importance of respect, and the importance of tolerance. There is no better modality than through the study and sharing of our genealogies, our research and through our feelings.

In this light, Susan has launched a new social network,, the place Where genealogy and spirit connect. This site is designed to assist others to embark on their own personal journey tofind your family, find yourself. Susan will be providing start-up consulting, ongoing monitoring and collaborative services as requested and special services.

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