Revisiting How Can I Lead a More Purposeful Life? With Rabbi Steve Leder

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Pain. Suffering. Grief. These are all things most people try to avoid. But Rabbi Steve Leder knows his life is more purposeful because it was transformed by the pain he’s experienced in his life. In this beautiful conversation, Claire and Rabbi Leder discuss how he came to that realization, what he does when he gets overwhelmed by the magnitude of the Earth’s chaos and suffering, and what it means to live life like a good ancestor. Plus, Rabbi Leder encourages you to create an ethical will to leave behind for your loved ones.

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Steve Leder, Claire Bidwell-Smith

Steve Leder  00:00

So when I was 14, my parents were on vacation in Miami Beach. I grew up in Minnesota. I got arrested for shoplifting Bob Dylan albums from target with the guys in my band.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  00:10

It’s kind of awesome. Yeah, I know I at least had good taste

Claire Bidwell-Smith  00:24

Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. Welcome to NEW DAY. Believe it or not, the guy who got arrested shoplifting Bob Dylan records at age 14, grew up to be named one of the most influential rabbis in America. Rabbi Steve Leder is the senior rabbi at Wilshire Boulevard temple in Los Angeles. And Rabbi leader knows he would not have made that list two different times without experiencing some profound suffering in his own life. I know it might seem paradoxical to paint pain and suffering in a positive light. But there’s truly a direct correlation here. And I know it can be hard to imagine when you’re in the depths of grief and pain. When my mom died when I was 18, it would have been impossible to fathom that there was anything good that could have come from that. But now all these years later, I know that the pain I experienced as a result of her death was transformative. It left me as one of Rabbi leaders book says, more beautiful than before. As a mom now myself, often my first instinct is to protect my kids from ever having to experience pain, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, but then I had to stop myself. Because I know whatever hardship they experienced in life is what will help them grow and transform the most. I can’t tell you how much I loved this conversation with Rabbi Leder. It was honestly one of the most beautiful conversations I’ve had in a long time. And hope after you listen, you feel the same.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  01:53

I’m so happy you’re here. I’m so excited to talk to you today.

Steve Leder  01:57

I really appreciate you having me on. It means a lot.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  02:00

I start every episode asking my guests How are you doing today? But how are you really doing?

Steve Leder  02:06

I am really doing well, all things considered. And that’s how I answer that question these days, because there’s so much clawing at us and so much negativity out there and so much to worry about. And yet, I count my blessings. I’m incredibly busy with my day job. And with the launch of a new book, and it’s stressful, but it’s such a beautiful kind of stress. And you know, I’m the lucky one. That’s how I look at it.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  02:37

You are, you really are. And I think that he just brings so much to I don’t know, to our world and our culture, and I’m so appreciative of it. You’ve been called one of the most influential rabbis in America. I can’t imagine how that feels and the kind of pressure that puts on you.

Steve Leder  02:57

It made my mother happy.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  02:58

I bet, I bet it did. What was her reaction?

Steve Leder  03:04

My mom is 88. And she has some dementia now but her reaction originally was such a Jewish mother kind of reaction was like, Well, if that’s what they say, if that’s what they want to do. Yeah, but I just It enabled me to tell her you see, I really didn’t belong running leader brother scrap iron and metal. Yeah, that was my path. My dad when I was a junior in college, he sat me down. And he said, look, I think there are a couple of things that you should consider for your career options. One is you could go to law school, and then run Leder Brothers or you could not go to law school and run Leder Brothers. Those are my two career paths. And when I told my dad, I, I really had made the decision to become a rabbi. He was not initially supportive. He said rabbis are beggars. And you’ll have 1000 bosses and you’ll never be appreciated. And, you know, he couldn’t really imagine what I could see. What was it that you could see? I could see the opportunity to be engaged in something that I knew that I could always be proud of. That was something more than just making a living. And that I really loved and really cared about. And I knew at a relatively young age, I really decided at 15 I knew at a young age that this is for me.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  04:47

Wow. that’s a really young age to know that what did you have influential people in your life, influential rabbis that that made you want to go down that path?

Steve Leder  04:57

Yes. Absolutely. When I was 14, my parents were on vacation in Miami Beach. I grew up in Minnesota. I got arrested for shoplifting Bob Dylan albums from target with the guys in my band. Yeah, I know, at least had a good taste. So and this was like 1974. So it was pretty, pretty good for a 14 year old. And my parents, I’m the fourth of five kids. My parents were 17 and 18 when they got married, and they had five kids before they were 30. Wow. So by the time I rolled around number four, they were kind of done. You know, I was raised by wolves. And I always did pretty well in school, which was their only metric, you know. And they realize that, oh, maybe we should start paying some attention to Steve. Because he could actually go the wrong direction. Hmm. And they went to see our Rabbi, Rabbi Shapiro, who said, he’s a good kid. But you definitely need to change his peer group. And they sent me to a Jewish summer camp in […], Wisconsin. And Claire, from the moment I stepped off the bus until the moment I had to go home eight weeks later in tears. I loved everything about it. It was sort of like we lived in in army tents and grew our own food. You know, it was the early 70s. All the counselors were these cool hippies in Earth shoes. And, you know, they, they liked the music I liked, but they were also into Judaism and writing music to prayers and things like that. And here’s the big thing. Besides the cute girls from Chicago with flowers in their hair, that was big, too, because I grew up in Minneapolis, and going to Chicago was like going to Paris. And anyway, it was the first time in my life that I ever saw, first of all, a young rabbi, because there were all these young rabbis there from Chicago, who were volunteering at the camp. And it’s the first time I ever saw rabbis in shorts and T shirts who could throw baseball. I had no idea. I had no idea that Rabbi’s could be normal people. And that was it. That summer, was it I was at that age, when I could look at someone or something and say, that’s what I want when I’m a grown up.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  07:42

It all sounds amazing, and lovely. But I know that you’ve also experienced a lot of pain and suffering and grief in your life. And I know that personally, those things for me have really informed a lot of the beauty and the joy in my life. They’ve helped me understand them on a different level. Can you tell me a little bit about how that has worked for you? How has the pain and suffering and grief changed your life?

Steve Leder  08:09

The pain prior to the real grief. The first really physically and emotionally painful thing I had to deal with was when I was in a car accident, and my spine was in there and I had spinal surgery. This was in my early 50s. And I had horrible chronic pain. I was taking way too many opioids for way too long, and I was kind of a zombie. And then I had surgery and had a slow and difficult recovery and it really rocked my world. And I realized that as much as I thought during my 20 years prior to that as a rabbi, helping people through pain that I knew what I was doing. I actually didn’t know very much about pain at all. And it forced me to reckon with my own bitterness. You know, the role for clergy comes with a certain degree of role stress. And there’s a certain degree of bitterness that that can really become malignant, because you are so owned by the community. And that can create real bitterness. And you know, this might sound terribly egotistical, but I respect you and we’re gonna have a real conversation. If you are really excellent at what you do, it also can create bitterness toward the people around you who are also supposed to be doing things with that degree of excellence and they just can’t. And I was immature and that too embittered me. It finally took me saying to my psychiatrist By the way, that car accident forced me to get the kind of help for my mental health that I had, honestly needed since I was a little boy, but just suppressed all of it. Because I grew up in a catastrophic thinking kind of ethos in my family. There was always danger looming around every corner even when there wasn’t, yeah. But in any case, I remember saying to my psychiatrist, I feel like a well-paid babysitter. And he said to me, well, babies aren’t bad. They’re just babies. And it was very helpful. Can’t expect this much from other people. They’re not like you, and they’re not willing to be tortured the way you’re tortured. They’re just not, nor should they be. So you know, it helped me with some deeper degree of empathy, and manage my expectations. But in any case, that painful experience, and learning what got me through it made me a different kind of Rabbi, a different kind of person, different kinds of husband and father. And that I wrote a book about it called more beautiful than before how suffering transforms us, because that’s how I, thank you. That’s how I felt I felt transformed by the pain. I felt I had a more beautiful life because of my suffering. You know, Dostoevsky said his greatest fear was that his life would not be worthy of His suffering. What a powerful idea, huh? It’s such a powerful idea. You know, if you have to go through hell don’t come on empty handed. Make your life more beautiful because of it. Yeah. So that was the first thing. The second thing was the year before my father died. It was the 30th anniversary of my tenure at the synagogue and I decided on the eve of Yom Kippur. It’s a service called […], which means all our vows. I decided to give a sermon about the 10 things being around so much death had taught me about life over the 30 years. And it was really well received, really well received. I knew I hit something. And you know, it made its way through the internet all over the world. And I thought, wow, this is something and then Claire, one year later, to the day. We buried my dad in Minneapolis after a 10 year journey through Alzheimer’s with him. And I realized in that transition, when Steve Leder, the rabbi, became Steve leader, the Son, I realized how wrong I was about the sermon I had given the year before. I realized that, you know, there’s this old gibberish expression a half truth is a whole lie. And that sermon was full of half-truths, because I was giving it as the rabbi who had a front row seat to death and grief and loss. But it was still vicarious.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  13:19

Right. You had been sitting with people and walking on their grief journeys, and you thought you knew what it was about. You thought you knew what they were experiencing and then you actually went through it.

Steve Leder  13:32

That’s right. Yeah. And, and so that’s why I wrote the beauty of what remains. Because that was such a transformative experience. For me the duality of Rabbi versus son, the duality. It’s really not a book about me, I’m in there. But it’s really a book about these, this dichotomous tension, which you know so much about that grief, evokes, creates reveals, you know, that memory, for example, the duality of memory. It’s beautiful, and it really hurts the duality of love. It’s beautiful. And it’s painful. Yeah. The duality of speech and words. They build, they destroy the duality of grief. Yeah. All you want to do is talk about it. And you don’t want to talk about it at all. All you want to do is remember, and all you want to do is forget. This duality is so powerful and irreconcilable. I mean, it’s a real duality. But what I found in writing the book and in living it really, because it’s a memoir and a field guide. It’s a field guide to people who are dying. It’s a field guide for people who are grieving, to say, this is where you are. This is what we’re works for some people, this is what you might try. This is what you might expect. This is how they do it here. This is how they do it in Africa. This is how they did it 2000 years ago, this is how they did it in the Victorian era. And this is what it all meant to me when I became the son. So it’s a field guide and a memoir. But I know I could never have written that book without the experience of my father dying.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  15:52

What a humbling experience to have been such a public person and speaking about these things..

Steve Leder  15:59

And someone who’s supposed to know Yeah, right. Yeah. And what I was saying about the duality, I think it’s important point is what I found, at least for myself, you know, we’re only experts in our own life and hardly that is that when I was able to acknowledge these dualities, and acknowledge that they are real dualities, they are irreconcilable differences. It is a tension that can never be resolved. Once I made peace with that. In a way, it was a resolution. Making peace with the fact that these two feelings are irreconcilable, and yet contained within one soul was its own healing was its own peacemaking. And I found that to be really, really helpful.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  16:57

I think we struggle with duality. Sometimes I often sit with a lot of people who feel like they need to pick one thing they need to pick only suffering are only joy they need to pick only grief or only.. I’m always trying to encourage people to remember that we can hold multitudes and we do hold multitudes.

Steve Leder  17:19

We have to. We have no choice. The question is, how do we embrace or become embittered by that tension?

Claire Bidwell-Smith  17:32

Every time I find myself wishing that my kids never go through hardship, I stopped myself because that is what will make them the most beautiful people they can become. You know, I mean, we can’t not wish suffering on people because it truly is transformative.

Steve Leder  17:49

t’s the only teacher there is no other teacher. And you know, Kafka said it’s just another one of those dualities. Kafka said that the meaning of life is that it ends. You cannot have a meaningful life without the reality of death.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  18:06

My father said something really similar on his deathbed, he said, he said that we would never know how sweet life is. If it didn’t come to an end, you know, we would never appreciate it.

Steve Leder  18:17

Imagine what a deathless life would be like, what if we were deathless creatures, we wouldn’t be human. Life would have no meaning.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  18:28

No consequence, no meaning no purpose.

Steve Leder  18:30

No one would create or do, or get married, or have children or any, or innovate. Nothing, nothing. Death is the engine to life. Every brush with death is a brush with our lives. I mean, that’s really what the new book is about. It’s not a book about death. It’s a book about life.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  18:51

Tell us about the new book. I have it sitting right next to me.

Steve Leder  18:54

So the new book is called for you when I am gone, 12 essential questions to tell a life story. And the idea for the book actually came from people like you. When I was talking about the beauty of what remains the previous book. What happened was, so that’s a 55,000 word book, of which may be two paragraphs, or about a concept I call an ethical will two paragraphs, I don’t know 60-100 words out of 55,000, what did everyone want to talk about? Those 60 or 100? Words like Rabbi. This idea of an ethical will what a great idea. Tell us more about that. And I realized that while very familiar to me. This was news to most people, and I should write about it, because it’s such an important exercise for us while we’re alive and for our loved ones are gone. So here’s the big idea. It is a sad, sad fact and irony that form most People’s loved ones. The last thing they ever hear from us is a dry last will and testament, boilerplate legalese document drafted by someone who barely knew us. And that’s our final word to our loved ones. And our final act is divvying up our stuff. It’s all about who gets what, and when and how much. And that is a terrible mistake. Because believing that the material, our stuff will nourish our loved ones, when we’re gone, is like handing them a picture of food. It’s not going to sustain them, it’s not going to nourish them, it’s not going to comfort them or warm them. You know, one of the saddest memories really of my life is after my dad died, going down into the basement of my parents’ home in Minneapolis and seeing all my dead stuff in a heap on the basement floor. Nobody wanted it. Nobody cared. And even if we do leave something of value that people actually want and treasure, it’s not nearly as important as what I call an ethical will, which is a letter to them about. Our hopes for them, our dreams, for them are blessings for them. Our life lessons, our triumphs, our flaws, our mistakes, and the lessons learned, our love, and our guidance, that’s what people will need and want.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  21:45

What an incredible gift to leave your loved ones.

Steve Leder  21:49

And I’ll tell you something interesting, at least to me, and maybe it’s a geeky thought. But this is not a book by any means only for Jews. But I do make a couple of, I think important observations that come from the Hebrew Bible. And it’s not a religious book either. But get this. The Biblical Hebrew word for word. And the word for thing is the same word. You cannot differentiate in Biblical Hebrew between a word and an item, a noun, a thing. What that means, so let’s think it through what that means. From a cycle and wisetech standpoint is that words are real words have weight, they are concrete, words can create words can destroy, words can build, words can tear down, they are real, and powerful, and have a deeper permanence than your paperweight collection or your clock collection. Or the money you’re leaving.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  23:02

As a writer, I love this.

Steve Leder  23:03

And yeah, and yet, we so often fail to create a legacy for our loved ones with words. So the book asks 12 essential questions that will really help us all tell our story. And so these questions, my editor asked, how’d you come up with these 12 questions in this order? They just, they just help a person’s truth. Blossom like a flower and time lapse photography. How did you do that? And I said it took 35 years and 15 minutes. Because these are the questions I’ve been asking families when I gather together with them, to talk about their loved one, to prepare them for the funeral. And to prepare me to have the truths I need to tell this person story in a eulogy. That’s incredible. And so this book is meant to it’s really me holding your hand and bringing you into the room with me that so that I can ask you these questions and what happens when you’re done? You have two things. And that’s why I say this is a book about life, not about death. Yes, you will have your story, the truth of your life, for your loved ones, for when you’re gone. But more importantly, when you go through this book, and you think deeply about your life framed by these questions, you will have an MRI of your inner life that you can hold up to the light and then say to yourself, Okay, this is what I say I believe in. This is what I say I’ve learned; this is what I say I’m committed to this is what I say my truth is and I’m living it.

Steve Leder  25:03

Or is my life mostly Kabuki?

Claire Bidwell-Smith  25:09

Am I being my most authentic self? Am I really living my truth?

Steve Leder  25:12

Now, none of us live our truth all the time. But if you are radically out of alignment, if your professed values and your lived values are radically divergent, that is a painful and horrible way to live. Yeah, it really is. And the happiest people I know, are the most content people I know. Because happiness comes and goes, but contentment, inner peace, are the people who are living the closest to their truth as they really can. And that’s a beautiful way to live. So this is part of the great reevaluation that’s going on in our country right now, post COVID. And I’ll tell you what really surprised me. Originally, everyone thought, Oh, this is a book for elderly people who know they’re going to die soon. And they’re going to be able to have the rabbi hold their hand through this process. But I did a podcast a few weeks ago, that reaches mostly millennials, 20s and 30s. They went crazy for the idea of asking these questions of their life. Why? Because they’re trying to find their way in the world. Who am I? How do I really want to live? What do I really believe is important? How do I honor my blueprint? Not the blueprint? My parents wish I had. And they are gravitating to these questions, because they want that MRI. They want they want to hold it up to the light and they’re courageous about it.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  27:20

These questions are not just for people end of life are people who are grieving. It’s not just a gift to leave behind. It’s a gift to yourself, you know, it’s a gift to yourself and ask yourself these questions.

Steve Leder  27:33

Being around so many people asking these questions, Claire, has made my life so much better over the past 35 years.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  27:40

I bet, I bet that’s been a good.

Steve Leder  27:43

People ask me all the time, because they know I’ve officiated it. I don’t well over 1000 funerals. And that means listening to the story of 10s of 1000s of people. Talk about their loved one. And people say to me, how do you do it? How do you carry all that? How do you sit down for hours with each family and go through. Aren’t you exhausted, you know, and so I answer, honestly, yes, I’m exhausted. But if you ask the right questions in the right order. And everyone’s life is amazing. Everyone’s story is incredible. Everyone’s life is interesting, everyone. But you don’t get to it. By looking at the facts. You get to it by getting to the truths. Yeah, that’s how you get there. And that’s, that’s an incredible journey. Every single time.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  28:41

This is beautiful. Years ago, I was doing some research for a book about the afterlife. And I was going around asking everyone, what do you think happens when we die for like five years, I asked everybody that it was great. It was so interesting. But at one point I was meeting with a young Rabbi for a little while at one point, and I’d met him on an airplane.

Steve Leder  29:02

Did he admit he was a rabbi on the airplane?

Claire Bidwell-Smith  29:05


Steve Leder  29:06

Because I never do that.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  29:08

I can get people to admit to a lot of things.

Steve Leder  29:13

I just say I’m a writer, because I can’t do it.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  29:16

I don’t tell people anything. If I tell I’m a writer then they ask what I write it just the whole thing goes sideways. But I met him on an airplane and he had lost both of his parents just like I had at the same ages. Yet he’d had such a different experience of grief and in his life that I did be largely in part to his community. Right. And so we had a lot of incredible discussions about Judaism, which I just love Judaism. I’m so fascinated by it. I think there’s so many beautiful rituals and thoughtfulness around grief, around life.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  29:41

I’m never more proud of Jewish tradition than at a funeral because the ancient sages got it right.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  29:58

I would like to be Jewish.

Steve Leder  30:00

You’re in, plenty of room on the bus. Plenty room on the bus.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  30:06

But you know what I asked him about the afterlife. He said something that always really stuck with me. He said to me, in Judaism, there’s not a big emphasis on the afterlife, the afterlife is here. It’s now it’s what we leave behind. It’s the legacy of who we were. It’s what we pass down to our loved ones. And when I’m thinking about this new book of yours, that’s what I’m thinking about. Because this is what you’re helping people do. You’re helping people leave their afterlife, their legacy to their loved ones and to themselves.

Steve Leder  30:37

Yeah, the way I put it is, you know, people ask these questions of clergy all the time to try and stump them. They ask these huge existential questions, you know, Rabbi, what is the meaning of life? And they’re messing with you. But I have an answer, which is, in my opinion, the meaning of life is to live as a good ancestor. Are you a good ancestor? We don’t think of ourselves as ancestors. But we are, just not yet. So can you live as a good ancestor, which is close to what you were articulating? Via the rabbi is that can you be this worldly type of person whose afterlife remains this worldly, with within, not just within your DNA, which is obvious that you pass on if you have children. But I’ll tell you, there’s a beautiful quote in the new book from Isaac Bashevis singer, the Nobel Prize winning Yiddish writer. And he said in one of his short stories, every person is a cemetery. And what he meant was, every one of us carries our ancestors within us, both within our DNA, but also in our worldview, our empathy or lack thereof our materialism or lack thereof our spirituality, or lack thereof and we too, will be carried by others. And if we understand that, not in a fearful way, but in an empowering deliberate way, it really can inform us to lead more beautiful and purposeful lives.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  32:27

That’s really true.

Steve Leder  32:29

Not an easier life. No, you know, that’s like expecting the bowl not to charge you because you’re a vegetarian. It doesn’t work that way. If you lead a purposeful life, it doesn’t mean you’ll never suffer. But it does mean you’ll have this richness in your life that comes from meaning and community. Yeah, no one suffers better alone.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  32:55

This idea that that Rabbi imparted to me that all those years ago, I mean, it was a gift. It really it made me think about my parents. And it made me think about all the most wonderful traits and the most wonderful things they did in their lives that they taught me and passed down to me and all the ways that they still continue to exist.

Steve Leder  33:13

They were good ancestors.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  33:15

They continue to be.

Steve Leder  33:16

You know that cleaning, that line of cleaning products called seventh generation. It’s an environmentally friendly, yeah. Company, and they make all kinds of cleaning products. Do you know where that phrase comes from seventh generation. It comes from the law of the Iroquois, the great Iroquois tribe of Native Americans. And the law of the Iroquois says that when the elders of the tribe make a decision, they must consider the effect of that decision on the seventh generation to come.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  33:57

Wow. Awesome.

Steve Leder  34:01

That is living consciously as a good ancestor. Imagine the world imagine the world we would be in if all of us and governments were collectively making decisions based on the effect they will have seven generations from now. What a world that would be?

Claire Bidwell-Smith  34:27

Can we make that happen, Steve?

Steve Leder  34:30

We can. We can in some ways. Yeah. I often when I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of the world’s challenges. Yeah. There’s been a lot lately. Yeah, I’ve been asked this a lot lately. You know, what about the shootings in Uvalde. And, you know, what about global warming, the war in Ukraine, etc. You know, how do you think about that, Steve? And there are similar Jewish sayings. But I revert always to what comforts me the most, which is a Buddhist saying, which I learned from my friend, Shelley. And the saying is, tend the part of the garden you can reach. I find that to be incredibly helpful when I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of the Earth’s chaos and suffering. I love that, tend the part of garden you can reach some of us have further reach than others. You have a platform; I have a platform. Some have a bigger platform, some have a smaller platform, but we all have a little piece of garden we can reach. And can we tend that garden like a good ancestor? Can we pay attention to our relationships? Can we pay attention to the mental health of the people we love? Can we root out of our part of the garden? Can we root out objectification and other ring? And coldness? And can we plant empathy? And tend it and nurture it? Yes, the answer is yes. Every single one of us can reach a part of a garden. That’s a lot.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  36:22

It’s so true. That is very comforting. And very real. This conversation has been such a gift. I feel like this is one of the most beautiful conversations I’ve had in a while. And I really feel appreciative. I’m so glad you stole that Bob Dylan record and got sent away to camp and became a rabbi.

Steve Leder  36:42

You know, one of the questions in the book was, what was your greatest failure? You know, because another is what was your greatest regret? And it always turns out that these missteps lead to the most beautiful things in our lives. So yeah, I’m glad too, I don’t know if you can see it. I know your listeners are. So I have a Bob Dylan album on the shelf behind me and it says to Steve, Bob Dylan, it’s a prized possession. Like, I think an Ethical wills more important than a material will.

Steve Leder  37:26

You’re so skilled and heartfelt. And it really, it comes through. Not all conversations go this way. So you have a gift, and I appreciate you using it and letting me be a part of it. I really do.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  37:41

Likewise. Well, we’re gonna have to hang out in person one of these days, and I just can’t wait to share this book with everyone and these questions. Thank you.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  37:50

Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you, Claire. Great to be with you.

Claire Bidwell-Smith  38:00

Truly, what a gift that conversation was, between what Rabbi leader had to say about considering how your actions will affect the seventh generation to come and tending the part of the garden you can reach. I feel like I have a new ethos almost. What an absolutely beautiful way to think about your own actions. How lucky is the congregation of Wilshire Boulevard temple to be able to hear his sermons. Luckily for the rest of us their website actually post sermons from the Jewish High Holy Days on their website, and I’ll leave a link in the show notes so you can watch some of Rabbi Leders sermons yourself. Before I go, our world needs more grief support than ever. If you’ve ever considered working in the field of grief and loss, I’d love for you to join me for my grief certification training course. This program is designed to help deepen your understanding of grief and end of life work, and it’s open to students, counselors, therapists, nurses, even yoga and art teachers. Anyone working in a professional setting, use code NewDay15 for 15% off registration and visit my website, to learn more. Thanks for listening, and make sure you subscribe to new day so you never miss an episode.

CREDITS  39:10

NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our VP of weekly content is Steve Nelson. And our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me, Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts.  Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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