For the most part, Schachter-Shalomi's success was based in his liberal acceptance of people exploring alternate paths of spiritual awakening (from LSD to Yoga), and his legitimizing of alternate possibilities within Judaism.
From the evening of Tuesday June 3 through the evening of June 5, Jews will be celebrating the festival of Shavuot, which in most of Jewish life today is focused on the revelation and acceptance of Torah at Mount Sinai.
When I arrived that morning at his home in Boulder, CO, the rabbi's wife, Eve, was in the kitchen, preparing for Passover by removing 'hametz' -- anything containing flour that's risen -- from every drawer, shelf and counter.
Religion is a tool that performs a service for us, something we utilize for our own spiritual development. Unfortunately, we sometimes end up getting used by the tool! But that's not the fault of religion.
On Shabbat Hanukkah (this year, Nov. 29-30), we read an extraordinary passage from the Prophet Zechariah. Speaking during the Babylonian Captivity, he envisions the future Great Menorah, taking its sacred place in a rebuilt Holy Temple.
In the light of that Danger of Desolation hovering before us in our generation, let me offer what follows as a supplementary reading for this coming Shabbat, when Jews read the second portion of the Torah about God's decision to reverse and undo Creation with a flood.