“Judaism and Christianity have their differences, but they are as one in their declaration that there is a spiritual reality at the heart of all nature and life.” Some people seek to build walls of …
We are not here to be happy
“We are not here to be happy and to have peace of mind; we are not here because life owes us a certain amount of pleasure or security. Our business here is to help build the kingdom of God, or if you will, a world of peace, joy, and security for all the children of the earth.”
Rabbi Levi A. Olan. From “The Distinctive Message of Prophetic Religion” (March 5, 1961)
The Distinctive Message of Prophetic Religion
"It seems that our very existence as a species rests upon our understanding the truth of the prophetic experience. We are all of us creatures, bound to each other by our common origin and destiny." On March 5, 1961 Rabbi Olan explored how religion reorients the way we understand our purpose in the universe. With its many facets, prophetic faith, he says, provides a critical foundation for us to find...
Bridwell Library Archival Collection on Rabbi Levi A. Olan
Rabbi Olan had a small study space at Bridwell Library for many years. While he donated most of his professional papers to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Olan left some publications, copies of …
The Faith of a Believing Few
"The task which confronts all of us is that of finding a cause we believe in and joining the group which is dedicated to its achievement." On February 26, 1961, Rabbi Olan confronted what it means to be in a minority group of thought, faith, and even history. It can be discouraging when your views do not seem generally accepted, he says, but so often it is only...
The Widsom of Living
“To get wisdom [one’s] mind must be open to all knowledge, everywhere.” Rabbi Olan’s February 19, 1961 radio sermon encouraged his listeners to seek something that we all need: wisdom for living. Wisdom can be …
Despise No Man
“The need to feel superior is a basic human sickness.” “The trouble with false pride of any kind which makes a man despise another is that it is always costly and often dangerous.” On February 12, 1961 …
McDonald Observatory plaque
April 8, 2018: Tim standing next to a plaque noting Rabbi Olan’s leadership as a University of Texas Regent. McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, Texas.
On Being Yourself
"It is of utmost importance in this hour for the man who takes the oath of office of President of the United States to remember the words of Ezekiel: 'thou art man and not God.'" In his radio sermon on February 5, 1961, Rabbi Olan delves into questions around how we know our true selves while asserting why we must remember our humanity and our humility no matter what part we play — or what power we have — in...
The Inescapable Ideals
"The fact, which is the result of centuries of experience, is that no one of us can evade the demands of idealism." On January 29, 1961, Rabbi Olan explored what it is to be practical vs. idealistic and where...