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Global Read

Mouth of the Donkey

By Laura Duhan-Kaplan

Global Read

Mouth of the Donkey

by Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan

Date: Wednesday, April 17 at 9 AM PDT


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Cost: Suggested donation $10 US.
We will offer this program free to those whose resources are limited.



Book Description

The Hebrew Bible is filled with animals. Snakes and ravens share meals with people; donkeys and sheep work alongside us; eagles and lions inspire us; locusts warn us. How should we read their stories? What can they teach us about ecology, spirituality, and ethics? Author Laura Duhan-Kaplan explores these questions, weaving together biology, Kabbalah, rabbinic midrash, Indigenous wisdom, modern literary methods, and personal experiences. She re-imagines Jacob's sheep as family, Balaam's donkey as a spiritual director, Eve's snake as a misguided helper. Finally, Rabbi Laura invites metaphorical eagles, locusts, and mother bears to help us see anew, confront human violence, and raise children who live peacefully on the land.


About the Author Laura Duhan-Kaplan

Laura Duhan-Kaplan is a lifelong writer, animal lover, and spiritual seeker. She is Director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology and Rabbi Emerita at Or Shalom Synagogue. Rabbi Laura, a gifted teacher of philosophy and religion, has received many teaching awards, including the Carnegie Foundation’s prestigious U.S. Professor of the Year.  In addition to the award-winning book Mouth of the Donkey: Re-Imagining Biblical Animals, Rabbi Laura is author of Shechinah, Bring Me Home: Kabbalah and the Omer in Real Life, and co-editor of four interfaith essay collections on friendship, reconciliation, othering, and hope. She often team-teaches with her Interfaith Amigo colleagues Imam Jamal Rahman and Pastor Don Mackenzie. When Rabbi Laura is not working or exploring spiritual practice, she’s usually volunteering at a synagogue or interfaith initiative; hiking, singing, or leading prayer services with her spouse Charles; laughing with family; or hanging out with her changing array of companion animals.

Visit Ms. Duhan-Kaplan’s LinkedIn profile or her Website.


About Facilitator Donald Mackenzie

Donald Mackenzie is a minister of the United Church Christ. He is a graduate of Macalester College, Princeton Theological Seminary and holds a PhD from New York University. He has served on the faculty of Princeton Seminary and was an associate minister at Nassau Presbyterian Church before becoming Pastor of the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College, a congregation of the United Church of Christ. He also served as Minister and Head of Staff at University Congregational Church in Seattle. After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, he and Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal formed what became known as the Interfaith Amigos. After twenty years, Rabbi Ted retired in the summer of 2022 and now he and Imam Jamal are excited to welcome Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan to their interfaith work.

Don’s country band, Life’s Other Side, played at the Midnight Jamboree at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville in January of 2005. They also recorded the soundtrack for the documentary film “Family Name.”


About Facilitator Jamal Rahman

Jamal Rahman, Imam, Writer, Speaker, Spiritual Advisor, is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs.

Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.

He is the author of Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mullah's Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom; Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights & Practices from the Qur'an; Hadith, Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind; The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam; and co-author of Finding Peace Through Spiritual Practice: The Interfaith Amigos Guide to Personal, Social, and Environmental Healing; Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith; Out of Darkness into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources; and Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi, and an Imam.

Jamal's latest book, The Teachers of Spiritual Wisdom: Gaining Perspective on Life’s Perplexing Questions is co-authored with Duncan S. Ferguson and Mary Petrina Boyd.

Jamal's passion lies in interfaith community building. He remains rooted in his Islamic tradition and cultivates a "spaciousness" by being open to the beauty and wisdom of other faiths. By authentically and appreciatively understanding other paths, Jamal feels that he becomes a better Muslim.

This spaciousness is not about conversion but about completion. Since 9/11 Jamal has been collaborating with Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don Mackenzie. Affectionately known as the Interfaith Amigos, they tour the country sharing the message of spiritual inclusivity. Recently, Rabbi Ted Falcon decided to retire and Rabbi Laura Duhan-Kaplan has come in his place.

Imam Jamal, originally from Bangladesh, has an abiding faith in the power of heart-to-heart connections to encompass differences and dissolve prejudices. He enjoys programs that celebrate life and unity through delight, laughter, and food. He has a private spiritual counseling practice serving individuals and couples, and is available for interfaith weddings and ceremonies.

Jamal offers a variety of classes and workshops, including the popular "Blush of the Beloved," a course in spiritual deepening and discernment drawing upon the practices, insights, and wisdom within Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.



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