Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz is the President & Dean of the Valley Beit Midrash (a national Jewish pluralistic adult learning & leadership center), the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek (a Jewish Social Justice organization), the Founder and President of Shamayim (a Jewish animal advocacy movement), the Founder and President of YATOM, (the Jewish foster and adoption network), and the author of 24 books on Jewish ethics. Newsweek named Rav Shmuly one of the top 50 rabbis in America and the Forward named him one of the 50 most influential Jews.
Bringing heaven down to earth: Jewish ethics for an evolving and complex world
With society changing so fast and the deluge of news hitting us at such a constant, unnerving pace, one of the primary ways by which we address the messiness of the outer world is to address the messiness of our inner worlds. We have to step out of the cycles of cynicism that pervade our culture and engender positive change in our communities and in ourselves. To achieve this goal, we have to develop and refine our characters—our souls—so that we may realize our potential in this life. That is where the Jewish principles of mussar (ethical traits) and middot (character traits) come into play. For indeed, if we are to be the change we seek in the world, we must first actualize ourselves to be the change. And we can only change the world by challenging ourselves to be our best.