Jan. 13, 2021

BBYO’s Matt Grossman and Kelly Fagel on Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33 - “Affliction, Isolation, and Lashon Hara” - S1E117


Mark welcomes two special guests from BBYO, one of the Jewish community’s premier platforms for reaching and inspiring Jewish teens, to the podcast today. Kelly Fagel is a 17-year-old High School Senior who serves as the 32nd International Sh'licha, Vice President of Jewish Enrichment and Community Service, with BBYO, and she is also the youngest guest to ever appear on the podcast. With her is BBYO's Chief Executive Officer since 2004, Matt Grossman, who is currently responsible for working with the organization's teen, professional, volunteer and philanthropic leaders, to set BBYO's vision and direction. The passage they have chosen to discuss is one that holds special meaning for them both, Leviticus 14:1-15:33. Matt and Kelly begin by discussing the special connection the passage holds for them, and then share a summary of the passage and a look at the notions of humility, pride, and confidence found within it. Much of the remainder of the podcast outlines the connection between the passage's message of how isolation impacts one’s ability to do good as well as how technology can prove both a blessing and a curse in these circumstances. Connecting this tale regarding leprosy to the current pandemic, our guests explore their own quarantine experiences as well as those within the BBYO community. The tremendous success that BBYO generates is also discussed before our guests conclude the episode with the lessons they have learned about humankind. This conversation, rooted as it is in the diseases of leprosy and COVID, nevertheless conveys a message of hope for the future, as we learn more about the power of BBYO and the incredible youth involved with it. 

Quotes: “Generation apart but we’re studying the same sacred text and trying to derive new lessons from it.” “Even when we’re in our darkest moment…we’ll find the blessing.” “What is the purpose of life if not to give of oneself to others?” “The quarantine is taking away one’s ability to do good.”  “We’re addressing this by being there for each other.” “The greatest light is what’s motivating us.” “Our community needs this moment together right now.” “Shabbat became Shabbat for all of us.” “No one is immune from what’s going on in the world right now.” “Did we all collectively do something wrong in the world to deserve whatever’s happening in the world right now? “What’s helping to cure us is also tearing us apart.” “Learning how to engage with people even if you’re upset at them…still show them love in different ways.” “All of Jewish practice is about reminders.” “There’s definitely diversity in a lot of programming the communities do.” “A striking example of what young people can do when community’s the mission.” “People can chart their own path.” “People want to grow and they want to be a part of something bigger especially during the adolescent years.”  

Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33 - https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.14.1-15.33?lang=bi&with=all&lang2=en Links: The Rabbi’s Husband homepage: The Rabbi's Husband Mark’s Twitter: Mark Gerson - The Rabbi's Husband (@markgerson) The Rabbi’s Husband Newsletter contact: daniel@therabbishusband.com

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