In the early eighties, Brad Hirschfield moved from the suburbs of Chicago to the West Bank city of Hebron to join a fanatical Israeli sect determined to reclaim the Jewish state within it's Biblical boundaries. Looking back he says, "I'm very grateful frankly that I don't know whether my bullets found their mark" referring to when he fired weapons at human targets.
Nearly three decades later, Brad has backed away from Hebron and turned his back on the violence imposed by religious extremism in efforts to create a worldwide multi-faith conflict resolution initiative he refers to as "Bridge Building".
Brad Hirschfield is the author of You Dont Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism, the Co-Host of Hirschfield & Kula: Intelligent Talk Radio and President of The National Jewish Center for Leadership and Learning.
Reva L'Sheva - "This is an orthodox Jew playing music inspired equally by the Bible, Allman Bros and the Grateful Dead. Anyone who can do that has a lot going on."
Grateful Dead - "I've been to more than 100 shows and I don't know any band that captures the spirit of community and love the way they did."
Bruce Springsteen - "I love Bruce but not when he's playing folk tunes."
Souled Out - "Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics after the Religious Right" by EJ Dionne Jr. is a great book and really what matters more than religion and politics! I always want to talk about the topics you're not supposed to talk about."
The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldiers Education - "This book is a deeply honest account of what's inspiring and damaging about even the best of fights."
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln - "Doris Kearns Goodwin is a great storyteller. Smashing idols is an ancient tradition. Lincoln is worth the love but his story is much more complex."
Le Marais - "They have the best french fries in the world. The steaks are good and the beer is cold. What more could you want?"
The Hummus Place - "This place is a chain but it's good. It tastes like Jerusalem."
Madras Mahal - "They have killer dosos - those pancakes made from chickpeas. They're huge, like the size of trumpets."
Pongal - "Their spicy curry will scorch you, but it's well worth the pain."
Mendy's - "This Kosher chain in pretty reliable. Their pastrami is good and their pea soup is top notch. Make sure they serve it extra hot. I like my soup served from a nuclear reactor."
Va Bene - "For a good piece of fish and excellent pasta I swear by Va Bene."
MUSEUMS, NEIGHBORHOODS & CULTURAL CENTERS
Museum of Jewish Hertiage - "They manage to tell sad stories in incredible life affirming ways."
Cathedral of St. John the Divine - "It seems to be the unfinished cathedral and that's how it should be. It's grand, inspiring and incomplete - indicative of how there is so much more to do."
Ellis Island - "It's the best of the American experience - somewhere across the ocean everyone gets another chance."
Times Square - "It's the raw energy of New York. I liked it better before Disneyfication but it's still cool."
Chinatown - "It's insane and fun and so different from what we're used to. Plus they have great food though I only eat at the vegetarian places."
Yankee Stadium - "If the new stadium works it will prove that tradition and innovation can co-exist. Personally, I'm reserving judgment."
The Metropolitan Museum of Art - "I challenge anyone to walk through those galleries and not say "Oh my God" over and over again."