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Renowned rabbi/author will keynote brunch honoring mayor

Rabbi Harold Kushner
Rabbi Harold Kushner
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild
Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

There is a universal human craving for significance, says Rabbi Harold Kushner. The world-renowned rabbi and author will speak on this idea when Temple Emanu-El presents “Making a Difference in Your Life and in Our City,” a brunch next month honoring Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We want to know that the world knows that we are there,” explains Kushner, “but there are some ways that are better than others to get that attention.”

Kushner served as spiritual leader of Temple Israel in Natick, Mass., for 25 years and has written six nationally best-selling books, including “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” which was first published in 1981. Looking back, Kushner realizes that his theology, radical at the time of publishing, has become mainstream. “It was considered radical to think that God could be good and kind, but bad things could happen to us that were not planned or controlled by God. That God ­wasn’t all-powerful, but could still be there with us, was a revolutionary idea, but now that idea seems to resonate with people from all backgrounds.”

Focusing on the role individuals can play as members of a greater community will be a key element of what Kushner will discuss during the brunch at Skyline Country Club on Feb. 9 at 10:30 a.m. “With all of the entertainment award shows happening, I pay particular attention to the ‘best actor in a supporting role’ category. We should all try to be the best supporting actor,” says Kushner. “We may never be the star, but we can help someone else going through a hard time.” In striving to better our world, Kushner suggests that goals that can’t be reached alone can be met with the help of others.

The importance of participating in endeavors that aim to better our community is a fitting theme in honoring Rothschild, currently in his first term as mayor. Rothschild has served on many nonprofit boards, including serving as board president of Temple Emanu-El, Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, and Casa de los Ninos.

Although he has visited Tucson regularly for the last 30 years, Kushner has not yet met Rothschild. The rabbi, who spoke at Temple Emanu-El in 2010, hopes to spend more time in the Old Pueblo in the future. “Tucson is a wonderful, warm city with a strong sense of community,” he says. “Without community, we are emotionally malnourished. We don’t go to synagogue to find God — you can find God at home. We come for community.”

Tickets for the brunch are $75. Skyline Country Club is located at 5200 E. St. Andrews Drive. Contact Jill Rich for reservations and sponsorship information at 349-0174 or [email protected].