Rabbi Says Judaism Can Help Society

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach doesn’t want to convert the world to Judaism, just to its practices.

Boteach, who was the rabbi of Oxford College for 11 years and is now a prominent author and radio talk show host, will kick off his book tour today with a speech in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ Dumke Auditorium at 11 a.m.

In his most recent book, “Judaism for Everyone,” he says God is in the little moments, not the grand shows of faith.

“We need people of faith who are humble, who find love in the little things in life?a child, a successful marriage, in charity,” Boteach said.

Himself a child of divorce, Boteach describes our current society as one that has “given up on love.”

He detests the celebrity culture where children’s idols are not great men like “Moses?Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King” but Britney Spears, famous pro basketball players and movie stars, many of whom get divorced regularly and are addicted to drugs.

Boteach’s book urges the public to take part in the Jewish Sabbath whether they are Jewish or not.

He says turn off the electricity, don’t answer the phones. Instead of spending hours watching TV, spend hours over a meal talking with family.

Boteach has seven children and he says these long Friday night talks are when he connects with them most.

“They speak to me in a different way,” he said.

Boteach also suggests that couples take a two week sexual sabbatical every month, as prescribed by the Jewish faith. He says this will keep a couple’s intimate lives fresh, by forcing them to focus on their friendship for two weeks and then their passions for two weeks.

He says this will lead to healthier marriages and a happier society.

Boteach sees a society crumbling at the edges from an overabundance of poor role models and a focus on professional development instead of family.

“Are you a hero to the world if you are not a hero to your children?” he asks.

After starting his book tour at the U, Boteach will spread his message across the country.

He will return to Utah often, however.

Boteach is helping Snow College President Mike Benson set up a Jewish Studies program in the Ephraim, Utah, school. Benson, who is an adjunct professor at the U, met Boteach when he attended Oxford College. The two quickly started a friendship that included sharing each other’s faiths.

Boteach said he knew little about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before meeting Benson. After the two spent time together, Boteach saw similarities between the Jewish faith and that of the LDS Church.

He mentioned the LDS Church’s family-oriented societies and focus on service as two things he is quite impressed with.

Boteach said he decided to start his book tour in Utah as “an indication of the high respect that I have for the Mormon Church.”

He plans to help Benson find donors for his proposed Jewish Studies program and would like to lecture there at least once a year.

Boteach also plans to visit Utah on May 15 for a meeting with the Council of Student Body Presidents at Snow College.

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