BGR 3/8/16: Environmentalism and Social Action; Boomer Reinvention

On the March 8, 2016 Boomer Generation Radio show, Rabbi Address welcomes Rabbi Mordechai E. Liebling, director of the newly created Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC). In the second half of the program, the guest is Michael Lyons, professional actor and motivational speaker.

About the Guests

Rabbi Mordechai E. Liebling
Rabbi Mordechai E. Liebling

Rabbi Mordechai E. Liebling

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling has worked throughout his career toward tikkun olam, repair of the world. He is the first to direct RRC’s unique Social Justice Organizing Program; he leads the College’s initiative to invest rabbinical students with the clarity of purpose, vision and voice to become uniquely effective, spiritually strong leaders in the drive toward social justice and environmental sustainability.
Through his own experience, Liebling came to realize that spiritual leaders hold unique power to demonstrate and inspire ethical choices, and to lead a pursuit of justice fueled by caring rather than rage. Most recently he served as the executive vice president of Jewish Funds for Justice; prior to that organization’s merger with The Shefa Fund, he held the title Torah of Money Director at TSF, providing guidance to help people apply Jewish laws and values to how they spend, invest and donate. For 12 years he was the executive director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, and he later served there as senior consultant. Before entering the rabbinical program at RRC, he worked as a community organizer.
Liebling was a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations for 12 years. He has served on the boards of various national and international non-profit organizations; currently he serves on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Liebling also is the president emeritus of the Shalom Center.
He has received awards from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and Mazon. Liebling also has spoken out for justice for people with disabilities, and his family was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Praying With Lior.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University and Master of Arts in the history of American civilization, specializing in American progressive movements, from Brandeis University. Liebling is a 1985 graduate of RRC.
He has published articles in many publications, including TikkunIsrael HorizonsJewish Currents and The Reconstructionist.
Michael Lyons
Michael Lyons

Michael Lyons

Actor, speaker, writer, entrepreneur, hospitality industry executive… Mike Lyons has led a very interesting and diverse life.

Mike’s eclectic background began as a child while living in Paris, France. He appeared in commercials and the film “Paris When It Sizzles” with Tony Curtis, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, and also did dubbing for French and English movies using his bi-lingual ability.  Upon his return to the U.S. in the mid-Sixties, he performed in the theater in a variety of roles while also working on the stage crew of the Valley Forge Music Fair – a professional theater located outside Philadelphia, rubbing shoulders with entertainment legends such as Gordon MacRae, Carol Lawrence, and Chita Rivera.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he went to work in the business world, bypassing the opportunity to pursue a vocation in the entertainment industry. Fifteen years later while working in New York City, he resurrected his dormant acting career and landed a national TV commercial for “Honey Bunches of Oats” cereal. From there he joined SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and began to book commercials, TV roles and other jobs on a regular basis including “All My Children” and an Advil commercial that ran on national television for 4 years. All the while, he kept his “day job” as a well-respected expert in the travel/meetings industry. Over the years, he has worked in New York city, Norwalk, CT, Philadelphia, Columbus, OH, and Minneapolis; and his travels have taken him to 32 foreign countries, 43 U.S. states and 76 of the top 100 U.S. cities.

As an actor, he has dozens of credits in films, TV shows, commercials and more than 350 live appearances on home shopping network QVC as a product host. His roles have included speaking parts in “The Sixth Sense”, “All My Children, “Veep”, “What Would You Do”,  “Arrest & Trial”, and “Outsiders”, among others. He can also be seen in the popular Netflix series “House of Cards” playing the Speaker of the House in Season 4, Episode 2.  Mike also enjoys performing as a singer and has produced a CD of his own renditions of classic Frank Sinatra songs.As a professional motivational speaker, he has given talks to numerous groups over the past few years on how to achieve goals, pursue your passion, and enhance your personal brand. He has authored a number of articles in both travel industry trade journals as well as consumer magazines, and is frequently sought out by the media as one of the experts in the meetings & events industry.A resident of suburban Philadelphia, he has been married to his lovely wife Lorie for 42 years. They are the parents of Mike Jr. (Krista), Erin Oosthuizen (Simon) and Aimee, and proud grandparents of seven beautiful children: Ella, Caitlin, Jesse, Ansley, Joshua, Avery and Logan.

Boomer Generation Radio is sponsored in part by Kendal Corporation, a Quaker-based provider of continuing care retirement communities in the Northeast and Midwest, airs on WWDB-AM 860 every Tuesday at 10 a.m., and features news and conversation aimed at Baby Boomers and the issues facing them as members of what Rabbi Address calls “the club sandwich generation.” You can hear the show live on AM 860, or streamed live from the WWDB website.

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