‘Most influential rabbi in America’ to speak at free JFSA event


Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi David Wolpe

David Wolpe — named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post — will speak in support of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona 2014 Community Campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 12. The free community event will take place at the Tucson Jewish Community Center at 7 p.m.

Local rabbis will participate in the Together Community Event and nine synagogues in Tucson and Green Valley are helping to promote it.

“I’m going to talk about what Federation does and why it matters; how we strengthen our community that has some serious challenges,” Wolpe, the rabbi of Temple Sinai in Los Angeles, told the AJP in a phone interview. “We’re in a time when we’re beset by multiple issues, both domestic and foreign” such as responses to the Pew study on American Jewry, peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, plus Iran sanctions vis-a-vis their nuclear program.

The Tucson Jewish community has a high rate of assimilation, says Wolpe. What does that mean for our future? How will we move forward to address these challenges? “I’m going to offer concrete suggestions,” he says.

Wolpe has taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, Hunter College and the University of California, Los Angeles. Featured on television on PBS, A&E, Face the Nation and the TODAY show, he writes for numerous publications, including the New York Jewish Week, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and Washington Post “On Faith.” He is also the author of seven books, including his most recent, “Why Faith Matters.”

Wolpe’s talk is free but registration is required. Contact Karen Graham at 577-9393 or kgraham@jfsa.org or visit www.jewishtucson.org.