My Teacher Podcast

Despair Is Not A Strategy: Ruth Messinger on her life's work

Episode Summary

Ruth Messinger, American Jewish World Service Global Ambassador, looks back on her extensive career in politics and Jewish social justice leadership. She reflects on many teachers of hers along the way, especially her Mother, Marjorie Wyler, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Episode Notes

Ruth Messinger is Global Ambassador of American Jewish World Service, having served nearly two decades as its president. Prior to her tenure at AJWS, she had a career in New York City politics.  She served on the New York City Council, was Manhattan Borough President and was the Democratic nominee for Mayor in 1997.

Ruth cites many teachers throughout her extensive career including her mother, Marjorie Wyler, who had her own distinguished career in broadcasting production and public presentation for the Jewish Theological Seminary, including the Emmy Award-winning program, The Eternal Light .

For a thorough history of The Eternal Light, see: Jeffrey Shander and Elihu Katz, “Broadcasting American Judaism: The Radio and Television Department of the Jewish Theological Seminary,” Jack Wertheimer, Ed., Tradition Renewed: A History of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Volume 2: Beyond the Academy (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1997), pp. 365-401.

In The Eternal Light’s run of more than 40 years on radio and television, one of the most memorable programs featured the 1972 interview of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel filmed shortly before Rabbi Heschel’s death. Ruth discusses Rabbi Heschel as another one of her most influential teachers.

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