"Hitchhiking, Fundamentalism, and the Art of Ethical Communication"
"How I Became my own Worst Nightmare."
Is "fundamentalist hitchhiker" an oxymoron? Not necessarily. My journey across the country, around the world, and into the dark corners of theology and social ethics provides fodder for a whimsical, surprising, and illuminating exploration of how the assumptions we make about others prevent us from truly knowing ourselves.
TEDx Colorado Springs
12 May 2019
TEDx St. Johns University
25 April 2018
By design, the life of hitchhiker tends toward the unexpected. But some adventures are more unexpected than others, and sometimes what doesn't happen is even more compelling than what does.
A former student posted this after my TED talk went live. I'd like to thank her by name, but I suspect that she prefers to remain anonymous. Either way, I may have felt more joy and accomplishment from this note that I felt from giving the talk itself. May we all give and receive the joy of fulfillment that comes from heartfelt appreciation.
I think most people would be surprised to hear that their high school teacher ended up on a Ted Talk... but not me. Ever since high school, I would attend Rabbi Goldson’s classes and lectures literally entranced. Rabbi Goldson is renowned for his power with words and irrefutable logic.
Listening to this Ted Talk, I felt much the way I feel when listening to Vivaldi’s “Winter” or reading a Dostoevsky novel -- totally immersed by the artistic beauty and jolted by the confrontation with human nature in its raw, unmasked form. This Ted Talk holds the answers to self confidence, finding YOUR truth, productive dialogue, and genuine open-mindedness.
If there is one person who has lived his life for the pursuit of truth and ethics, it’s Rabbi Goldson.
Isn’t it usually the teacher who feels nachas from his students? I’m literally jumping around the room right now unable to contain my happiness, excitement and pride for Rabbi Goldson and for Block Yeshiva High School!
Yonason has quite an interesting story of how he arrived on our stage. In his first 3-minute audition he expressed his frustration at having presented at another TEDx event that unfortunately completely fell apart. He never got a video delivered or uploaded.
His message was so polished and had such gravity that he broke our ratings system. He got the highest rating by far in our 3-minute video applications rating system as a result of just having been so prepared to begin with, beating everyone else twice over. Don't tell our other speakers. ;)
So obviously we put him on stage. I think you’ll be surprised (and then hopefully delighted) at his message if you haven’t heard it yet. When he talked about his hitchhiking experiences during his audition I knew I couldn’t wait to hear which version of them ended up on stage, and to my delight my favorite moments of his talk made it to the final cut that I get to share with you all now!
One of the cutest moments I think I recall hearing about Yonason & our team was when he walked up to Jill, our lead speaker coach who worked with him to further perfect his talk, at the end of the event and said so earnestly, “Jill, if I hugged women, I would give you a hug right now! Thank you so much for all your help coaching me!” I cracked up when I heard that story. Thank you Yonason for bringing such a gift to our stage!
TEDx Colorado Springs Organizer