On Thursday, Glenn hosted a small dinner at Mercury Studios for friends of varying backgrounds. From titans of Silicon Valley to men of faith, Glenn gathered a group of strange bedfellows to discuss the principles that have the power to unite people of all backgrounds.
Rabbi Irwin Kula was one of the people who attended the dinner. On Thursday’s radio program Kula explained that, as a New York Jew, he was initially skeptical to meet Glenn, but the men have become fast friends. On radio this morning, Kula called in on his way to the airport to discuss the transformative experience his time at Mercury Studios proved to be.
“I feel that my body, mind, heart, and soul we were touched yesterday, Glenn,” Kula said. “I actually don’t know what happened. And I’m a little scared, actually, because it’s one thing to, you know, teach your wisdom, it’s another thing to have your wisdom blown into you… You’re never going to invite me again because I’m not being very articulate right now, but I think that yesterday was a transforming day.”
One of the reasons the Rabbi was initially reluctant to meet with Glenn was because he felt they came at things from two very different angles and spoke two entirely different languages. As it turns out, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Much like Glenn has been talking about lately, the labels we use to identify ourselves or the words we use superficially divide us. But once you move past those things, we actually have a lot in common.
“We use this language and these words. We use words like religious and secular and atheist and believer and communist and socialist and capitalist and liberal and conservative and libertarian,” Kula explained. “We use these words and the words actually block us from looking into someone’s eyes and saying, ‘What are their real fears? What are their real hopes? What is he really saying behind those words?’ And the words block our ability to actually do what we need to do: Live together and build together. I know we need words. I’m a wordsmith like you are. You’re amazing with words. But we also know that sometimes the words block the very experience of understanding.”
After having the opportunity to spend several hours with Glenn and his staff, Kula realized how inherently good people are.
“Maybe because I spent eight hours in the most amazing aesthetic and beautiful place that I’ve been in so long. Maybe it’s because every single person I interacted with in your office was so unbelievably human. There was no posturing, no positioning… People were genuinely nice. People said hello… We can do this. We have to somehow transcend these boxes and labels that are only products of our fear,” he said. “And you know… I don’t speak this way in public because I’m scared because a whole part of my community won’t listen to me. I think these words are placed by demons who want us to not actually connect by heart and mind and we have to actually get past that.”
Glenn asked Kula how he thinks his community on the Upper West Side of Manhattan will respond to the various interviews he did over the last couple of days. While he can’t say with certainty that he will not face some backlash, he is determined to continue to work on finding common ground and finding solutions to the problems that face this country.
“I’m nervous… I don’t know what’s going to happen because I have always known the most important thing is to listen to the other side. But what struck me yesterday is: I wasn’t sure there is another side,” Kula said. “We may disagree about how we got here and who is exactly to blame. And we may use different words. But what was unbelievably awe producing for me – and my body is tingling, my knees are shaking, Glenn. This is where we are. This is not a joke where we are right now.”
“The only way we’ll have new solutions is talking with people with whom we disagree and then small, small living laboratories,” he continued. “I want to know what’s happening in Texas… and we have to look at Montana, and the Lower East Side of New York, and in Cincinnati. There are no big grand final solutions that will solve everything. In the end yesterday, I [no longer] know what was the other side.”
Ultimately, both Glenn and Kula agree that incredible can happen and will happen if we continue to come together.
“God bless you. Thank you,” Glenn concluded. “This is why you talk to the other side. This is why you reach out to people who disagree with you. Miracles are coming and miracles are happening.”