Rabbi Alan Freedman

As Interviewed by Billy T., March 5, 2012
"I think that religion provides a real opportunity to try to promote social justice because it represents a broad section of our society. If religious leaders can get together and put aside their theological differences in order to serve a cause, thatís a very powerful statement. You donít want to paint over the differences, because there are beliefs I donít share with Christians or Muslims, but when youíre able to put that aside and say itís more important for us to come together as religious people to address a particular issue that makes a powerful statement."
Rabbi Alan Freedman

Introductory Profile: About Rabbi Alan Freedman

Alan R. Freedman is a rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom. He strongly believes in interfaith collaboration because he believes that religions have a commonality, that, ďwe all believe in one way or another in fulfilling a vision of the world as imagined by god. That thereís a right way to live and a wrong way to live, that thereís a right way to treat other people, and a wrong way to treat other people. Whether one draws that conclusion from reading the prophets in the Tenakh, the Jewish scripture; draws that conclusion from reading the teaching of Jesus; or draws that conclusion from the Quran; the fact is all of those texts support a concern for other people and the rights of other people, and that when other people are attacked that that somehow diminishes your own rights as well,Ē as he explained during the interview.

Rabbi Alan Freedman was born in Philadelphia in 1954, and grew up in New Jersey with two sisters, Sandy and Debbie, who still live there today. He has a wife, Lori, and three children: Erin, Lindsey, and Jessica. He started rabbinic school in 1997 because he and his wife felt that they werenít leading as fulfilling a life as they wanted to live.

Rabbi Freedman thinks that collaboration between all faiths is achievable but he thinks there is sometimes a challenge in understanding each other as well. He answered this when I asked him what has been his biggest challenge in working with interfaith collaboration, ďI think sometimes we talk past each other. We use the same words but they donít mean the same thing. We also have different priorities as communities, but mostly the challenges come in understanding each otherís languages and sensitizing each other to what might be offensive to our individual communities, and sometimes people are so used to practicing their own religion that they donít think about how other people perceive a teaching they might be engaged in or a ritual that is theologically challenging.Ē