Eli Rubenstein and I have been friends for forty years. Close friends. It is therefore from the vantage point of familiarity I was compelled to do this interview with him. I know his stories and I know how riveting and from his heart they are. I knew Eli would be open to challenging questions.
So the fifth episode of HAT RADIO! is a recorded schmooze between Eli and I in his living room, for a couple of hours. What i was intent upon finding out was: how the transition was from being a right-wing Orthodox Jew to a humanistic Jew. He told me. He said it was freeing. He lamented, it was difficult because in many ways he has left the community he knew as a boy. But he was not afraid to show his secret side. His words were intimate.
I wanted to know from Eli what drew him to Holocaust Survivors so much so he became the spiritual leader at Congregation Habonim, a synagogue started by Survivors. His response was they were courage; they are brave; they are Jews who danced at the bar mitzvah of their grandchildren after going through the hell we call Auschwitz.
And I asked my friend Eli about his close relationship with Native Canadians and his leadership within Israel’s seeing-eye dog community and his passion for music and love of all peoples. And he answered mostly in stories, because Eli Rubenstein is a prolific storyteller.
Listen to episode 5. Then listen again, and perhaps another time. It is the type of interview you will learn from, more and more as you go…about life, humility, love and a powerful drive of one person to bring joy and comfort to all people. And that is Eli. We are dear friends.