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Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has an advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addressing reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art. Rabbi Rami hosts our podcast, “Essential Conversations.”

Rabbi Rami Shipiro

Spirituality and Pronouns

“While I do my best to honor people’s pronoun preferences, the pronouns that rea…

"I Just Can't Talk"

Got questions? Rabbi Rami has answers.

Spirituality and Aloneness

“I come to see it for what it is: a ceaseless swirl of mental flotsam and jetsam…

Spirituality and Donuts

Donuts can teach us a deep lesson about our brains and how to cease the internal…

Spirituality and Prayer

Spirituality and prayer: What’s the precise connection? “When asked if I pray, I…

Fact Checking Religion

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

The Day After the End-Time

Rabbi Rami was relieved when a fake prophecy did not come to pass. Still, “It ma…

One Nation Under God?

Can individual states establish a preferred religion? “Lots of Americans believe…

Christ and Krishna

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Culture, Not Hate? Symbols of the Confederacy

Two blocks north from my house, a neighbor flies a large Confederate flag. A hal…

Black Lives Matter Protests: Rabbi Rami Answers Your Questions

Rabbi Rami’s inbox has been filling up with questions from people troubled by an…

World War N

World War N is a fight against nihilism, the belief that power is the only thing…

Show You Care—Wear a Mask

“Wearing a mask in public is a deliberate act of caring for others … a concrete …

Special Edition: Roadside Assistance Part II

Rabbi Rami is answering your questions, with special editions of his online colu…

Is Anything More Important Than Living?

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doth proclaim: “There are more important things than …

​Condolences in the Days of COVID-19

Someone you know has died due to COVID-19. Here’s the script on writing your gen…

Are You There, God? It’s Me: Coronavirus

Finding God—and yourself—in a pandemic. Is there divine meaning?

A Prayer to Comfort Those Passing

In these heartbreaking times, being together during life's passages is often imp…

A Blip in the Cosmos

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Altruism on Your Death Bed

A living will relinquishing your ventilator to a younger, healthier sick person …

Pastor Tony Spell: Why I Love Him

“He knows God wouldn’t let the good folks at Life Tabernacle Church die when the…

Special Edition: Roadside Assistance

Rabbi Rami is answering your questions, with special editions of his online colu…

Four Biblical Verses For This Time

“Life is wild and nothing is permanent. Now deal with it.”

COVID-19: Fearless Love Is Needed

“If we are going to survive as a species worthy of survival, we will have to get…

Pennies From Heaven

“I have come to welcome those found pennies and to use the act of picking them u…

The Catholic Church Needs Celibate Women Priests

If the the bishops and the Pope really want to alleviate the shortage of priests…

How Do I Find My Authentic Self?

Rabbi Rami on being authentic, spirituality vs. religion, and aliens.

Where Did All the Poop on Noah’s Ark Go?

“One reason people are leaving traditional Bible-based religions is that they ar…

If Meditation Isn’t Joyful, Don’t Do It

“You might ask, if I am meditating just to meditate—if there is no goal to it at…

Should I End My Marriage?

Rabbi Rami on love, marriage, and God.

Ram Dass’ Greatest Teaching

“This one line has done more to shape my teaching than any other.”

Is Lying About God Okay?

“Lying about God and promoting a Pollyannaish understanding of religion isn’t go…

Charitable Giving: Do You Know How Your Donation is Being Used?

“The problem isn’t that the Vatican needs money to maintain its operations, but …

Greta Thunberg as Mad Max

“There are two women tackling climate change in a big way. Michele Bachmann is o…

The Problem of How to Greet People This Season

Do you say, ‘Merry Christmas’ and risk the possibility of insulting a Zoroastria…

All Religious-Based Answers Are Acceptable?

“If the students in Ohio schools want to replace math with myth, and fact with f…

You Don’t Need to Be Brave

“Bravery is the suppression or masking of fear but sharing one’s fear makes more…

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

“I am fascinated by religion. I simply don’t like the idea that something is bey…

Is Love a Solution?

Is our capacity for compassion and kindness enough to resist the ‘dark psychic f…

Bring on the Global Exorcism!

In October of 1967, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin gathered Americans and encircl…

Leaving Your Religion

If you have left or are considering leaving your religion for something spiritua…

Muggles Strike Back

“What to do with all these evil books? Expelliarmus!”

How Now, Brown Cow

“The fact that I am not among the 16.4 million Americans who think chocolate mil…

You Say Potato, I Say Pogrom

Garden City, Idaho looks pretty picturesque. Not so pretty: A candidate for the …

Asking for Forgiveness During Elul

Rabbi Rami explains why he encourages everyone to take part in asking for forgiv…

What Does Science Fiction Tell Us About the Future of Organized Religion?

“Can it be that Judaism will cease to evolve? Yes. The same is true of Christian…

The God Gap

It isn’t that Generation Z is godless, it’s that they no longer buy into (litera…

Why I Find the Death Penalty Problematic

“Seeking the death penalty and securing the death penalty should not obligate us…

How Can I Find a Simple Religion?

Looking for a simple religion to share with your friends? Read on.

When Will I Know It Is Time to Leave?

“I was not surprised when I got an email through my blog, asking me how we Jews …

I Am Not a Robot ... I Think

“I love shouting into the phone screaming Agent! Agent! Agent! It never works.”…

White Supremacy and Judaism: A Response

After the terrorist attack in El Paso, Rabbi Rami is asked about the Tree of Lif…

Do We Need a New God?

“We need a new understanding of God that allows us to leave behind the zero-sum …

Is This Weed Kosher? And Other Burning Questions

Is this weed kosher? Is this rabbi Jewish? Are these Doritos good, or what? …

What Doesn’t Kill Me Makes Me Funnier

What is my mission here? What is anyone’s mission here? And where can I get a Ha…

God Hates Dogs?

“This is what is wrong with religion: it walks into the future with its eyes fi…

Why We Don’t Want State Religion

“To put it bluntly: the more power a religion has, the more power a religion wan…

Is It Okay to Grieve for a Pet?

A comforting prayer to use when releasing a pet from this life.

A New Way to Worship

“I am all about being a human awake to God manifesting as all life.”…

Can God Sue for Unauthorized Use of the Rainbow?

Rabbi Rami claps back at the idea that the rainbow can't be used for gay pride. …

​Luciferian Meats: We Answer to a Lower Authority*

Is fake meat the work of Lucifer? Hmm, probably not a spiritual emergency. …

What Astrology Really Tells You

“You may be among the millions of Americans who are curious about, if not seriou…

Am I Not Kosher Enough for My Daughter?

Rabbi Rami responds to questions about white supremacy, a loving god, and Christ…

Limits to My Liberalism

Rabbi Rami warns of the slippery slope of rat-aardvark marriage.

Honest Feasting: Mourning and Celebrating within Jewish Traditions

Weddings and funerals: Rabbi Rami has an honest conversation about traditions an…

Does Your Religion Bring You Joy?

“Ask yourself: What in your religious and spiritual life brings you joy?”

Kippah Calm and Carry On

After a German official warned Germany’s Jews against wearing kippot in public, …

Stockpiling Nonsense

Rabbi Rami compares and contrasts some of the Trump/Cyrus coins being hawked the…

Mother Knows Best

Rabbi Rami shares his views on the Alabama Fetal Heartbeat legislation. …

Woke God

"Like the God who guides the Mormons, mine too instructs us 'revelation upon rev…

No More Warrior Gods

"If anything we are simply better armed fanatics salivating in anticipation of o…

iFather Who Art(ificially) in Heaven Hallowed Be Thy Code

Contributing editor Rabbi Rami ponders the Sanctified Theomorphic Operators of t…

Better to Bury than to Burn?

Contributing editor Rabbi Rami requests that his memorial service be held at a W…

Barabbas and Jesus Bar Abbas

"Matters become clear when we realize that the Greek name Barabbas comes from t…

Would Humanity Be Better Off With Only One Religion?

In the latest installment of Roadside Assistance, Rabbi Rami answers questions a…

Minimalist Religion, Maximalist Faith

Contributing editor Rabbi Rami asks whether you're a maximalist or a minimalist …

Seeing Isn’t Believing

Seeing is the opposite of believing, writes contributing editor Rabbi Rami. …

Rabbi Rami: Are Psychics Worth It?

I’m seeing a psychic. She isn’t cheap, but she’s very helpful. My friends say sh…

Rabbi Rami: Is It Trump's Fault?

Author and teacher Rabbi Rami Shapiro is encouraging Perennial Wisdom to lead us…

Dining at the Smorgasbord of World Religions

“Honestly, I had no idea there were so many religions in the world. What I want to know is why that is.”

Roadside Assistance in the Holy Land

We asked Rami Shapiro to journey with 30 fellow seekers to this ancient flashpoi…

Rabbi Rami: What's a Horrified Catholic Mom to Do?

Roadside Assistance for the spiritual traveler

Our Roadside Oracle Answers Life’s 5 Big Questions

+10 More for Our 20th Anniversary!

Rabbi Rami: How Best to Live My Dying

Roadside Assistance for the spiritual traveler.

Rabbi Rami: Should I Prostrate Myself to My Teacher

Question: My teacher insists we prostrate ourselves to the Father and to him. As…

Rabbi Rami: Should I Thank Siri or Alexa?

(And what if she says “no”?)

Rabbi Rami: Is Easter an April Fools’ Prank?

Rabbi Rami answers your spiritual questions.

Rabbi Rami:​ Am I Morally Bound to Chastise Meat Eaters?

Rabbi Rami answers your spiritual questions.

Rabbi Rami: Should I Pursue a PhD in Islamic Studies?

Rabbi Rami answers your spiritual questions.

Book Review: ​Holy Rascals

Spirituality & Health columnist Rabbi Rami Shapiro won’t tell you that your reli…

The Healing Truth

Behind All Our Great Religions

Rabbi Rami: Should I Feel Guilty about Being Happy?

Rabbi Rami answers your spiritual questions.

Rabbi Rami: Did Slaves Sell Their Souls to Get Free?

Rabbi Rami answers your spiritual questions.

Rabbi Rami: As a fundamentalist Christian, am I safe from Muslims?

Question: I consider myself a fundamentalist Christian, and I fear Muslims comin…

Rabbi Rami: Has Religion Primed Us for Fake News?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: What’s Wrong with Being a Disembodied Mind?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: Can God incarnate as both Christ and Krishna?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: Help! I’m Being Threatened with Hell

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: Everyone Says “Follow Your Heart.” But How?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Roadside Assistance Special Edition: Orlando

Rabbi Rami offers his insight to the influx of questions filling his inbox after the tragedy in Orlando in this special edition of Roadside Assistance.

Celebrations: Rabbi Rami Shapiro

10 Years of Roadside Assistance

Rabbi Rami: How to Talk with My Astronomer Daughter about God?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: How can I overcome my fear when hearing Allahu Akbar?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: Why Force Christian Bakers to Bake Cakes For Gay Weddings?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

You Are an Infinite Nonzero Game

Excerpted from The Golden Rule & the Games People Play by Rami Shapiro

ISIS: Rabbi Rami Answers Your Questions

Rabbi Rami’s inbox is full of questions about ISIS. In this special edition of R…

How Do I Not Get Angry with Fundamentalists?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: How Can I help My Parents Trust God to Provide for Me?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: How Do I Make Tough Decisions?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: How Do I Afford to Make a Pilgrimage?

Q: I long to go on a pilgrimage, but lack the funds to do so. Any suggestio…

Rabbi Rami: "I Find Myself Wishing My Dad Would Die?"

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: How Do I Keep My New Year’s Resolutions?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Arjuna Ardagh: Coaching Toward Awakenıng

Rabbi Rami: Your new book, Better Than Sex: The Ecstatic Art of Awakening Coachi…

Rabbi Rami: How Do I Make My Space More Holy?

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: "Does what I eat really matter?"

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Redefine Yourself at Midlife

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Lana Dalberg: The Divine Feminine

A writer, activist, and lay theologian, Lana Dalberg is the author of Birthing G…

Rabbi Rami Shapiro: “How Can I Be Detached About My Children?”

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler

Rabbi Rami: My Morning Ritual

Before I share what I do regarding spiritual practice, let me share why I do it.…

Rabbi Rami: “How Can I Forgive Myself for my Failed Marriage?”

Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual traveler

TIM RYAN: Leading the "Quiet Caucus"

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, spoke with Rabbi Rami about his efforts to bring more mindfulness to the U.S. Senate.

ASK RABBI RAMI: How can I get my husband to follow my spiritual path?

Over the past few years, I’ve shifted from the material to the spiritual. My hus…

You Are a Part. Not Apart.

The ideal spiritual practice fosters compassion, justice, love, and a sense of unity.

Cultivating the Values of Your Practice

Rabbi Rami shares his personal practice for elevating awareness and compassion to bring thoughts, actions, and values into alignment.

Rabbi Rami: "Is My Friend Responsible for her Cancer?"

My closest friend has stage IV lymphoma. She’s always been a negative person. Co…

Ask Rabbi Rami: "Whose God is the Truest?"

My friends and I have different ideas of God. Is any idea of God truer than any …

Rabbi Rami: How Can I Get My Faith Back?

My dad is dying and angry and takes his frustration out on me. I don’t want to a…

Rabbi Rami's Meditation Tips

  I know that meditation is good for me, but I can’t sit still for five mi…

Tim Miner: Spirituality without Religion

 A founder of the Order of Universal Interfaith and the executive director …

Worship a God Beyond Imagining

Religion is only as healthy or as sick as our imaginations allow.

Making Meaning in Spite of Tragedy

Rabbi Rami Shapiro counsels us to love neighbors and strangers as ourselves.

Enlightenment is to be Lived

My best friend and I are intrigued by enlightenment but can’t define it. What is…

Illuminated by Love: An Interview with Author Camille Helminski

The co-founder of the Threshold Society, an educational foundation rooted in the…

Should Public Schools Teach Religion to Kids?

Reader question: My kids are in a public elementary school that teaches them abo…

Newtown Shootings: If God Exists, Why Do Terrible Things Happen?

My email flooded with questions from readers this weekend regarding the shooting…

Weather or Not to Vote

I just spoke with my dad in western Massachusetts. He and my mom are praying tha…

Bra is Great

Sooraya Graham, a devout Muslim and an art student in British Columbia, took a p…

Former Priest Matthew Fox on 21st Century Spirituality

Two decades being expelled as a priest of the Dominican Order, Matthew Fox has c…

Is There a Male Spirituality?

When my husband and I talk about spirituality, he just doesn’t get it—yet I thin…

Why Vote?

I just read that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed today not to rai…

Essential Conversations with Rabbi Rami: 21st Century Spirituality

Former priest Matthew Fox speaks with Rabbi Rami Shapiro about his work, and his new book, modern spirituality, and intergenerational wisdom.

Mrs. Jesus

What is it with these Coptic Christians? Last week one them started a murderous …

What I Want for My Grandchildren

I received an interesting questionnaire while I was away in India. I’m sharing m…

Peace & Harmony vs. Reality

I'm in India as part of a Peace & Harmony conference in honor of the 150th anniv…

Death of My Teacher Bonia Shur

One of my dearest teachers died last Thursday. His name was Bonia Shur, and he w…

Enjoy the Fun of Getting, But Teach the Power of Giving

To these perennial questions, I offer some answers — not to close a conversation…

Scriptures Reflect the Best and Worst Within Us

To these perennial questions, I offer some answers―not to close a conversation b…

Random Reactions to the RNC

As the election season rolls on I become more jaded. I am troubled most by the a…

God Always Answers Our Prayers

God always answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer is “no.” You’ve probably he…

Free Pray State

Missourians vote tomorrow to save prayer in the public square. A proposed amendm…

Let the Competition Begin

People attending the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro will have to pass by thi…

Chick-Lit

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy supports traditional Bible family values, and be…

Heroes

“In a place where there are no heroes—be a hero!” This two thousand year o…

Letter to a New Rabbi

[I can't remember who asked me to write this, or if it was ever published, but I…

What’s the Difference Between Jesus and Christ?

You’re a hypocrite. You don’t believe in heaven or hell, and yet you let people …

Enlightenment: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

I’ve been reading a lot of books about enlightenment lately, and I still don’t h…

Do I Tell My Dying Daughter That I Don’t Believe in Heaven?

My roommate insists it’s impossible to prove the existence of God. I’m not sure.…

The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion?

I know this sounds basic, but what is the difference between religion and spirit…

Do Dings and Divots Reveal Soul?

My mother died suddenly from a heart attack, and I can’t rid myself of the anger…

Can I Still Love My Brother, the Atheist?

My brother and I have been Christians all our lives. Now he says he’s an atheist…

Who's Afraid of Gods?

Just how scared of Satan do you have to be to flee in the face of a non-Christia…

Vive la Difference?

I’m reading The Forward, a wonderful Jewish newspaper, and two articles catch my…

What is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

I’m in recovery and suspect that my addictions keep me from knowing something. B…

Breakfast at Noshville

I’m sitting at the counter in Noshville, Nashville’s New York-style  Jewish…

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

In 1968 Mitt Romney allegedly led an alleged assault on an allegedly gay student…

2012 M(a)y(an) Ass

Damn, damn, damn. I don’t know about you but I was planning to enjoy my final mo…

I Have Failed, Part 4

I seem to have opened a can of worms, and I invite you worms to post your commen…

I Have Failed, Part 3

This rant was to have only two parts (you can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here)…

I Have Failed, Part 2

I split this blog post into two sections so as to not lose the import of the sec…

I Have Failed, Part 1

I’m grading papers this week. One assignment in my Bible class was to rewrite th…

Little Free Library

I spent the last three days with my friend and teacher, Andrew Harvey, at Scarri…

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan's 13 Wants

I found this online and wanted to share it with you. I wrote my MA thesis on the…

Tablet Wars

Posting the Ten Commandments in government buildings may soon become legal in Te…

The Spiritual Traveler: Why Does God Hate Me?

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, poet, and teacher. In this column…

Rabbi Rami's Guide to Life's 5 Biggest Questions

Let’s face it. The biggest unknown in a parent’s life is her child. These beings…

This is War

War is hell. And hell—or at least heaven—makes war all the more hell…

The Real War on Christianity

America is an ideal that can never be completely fulfilled. That’s not something…

How Much Do I Love Free Will?

Free will was a hot topic this morning. I was sitting in the Springfield, MO air…

Keep the Doubt

I am often told to keep the faith. The truth is, however, I prefer doubt. Faith …

Why I'm Not A [Blank]

A couple of weeks ago during a Q&A session after a talk I gave I was asked, “Why…

Create Your Own Holy Day

We are entering one of the busiest spiritual seasons of the year, so we asked fo…

Is It Important To Find a Good Spiritual Teacher?

To these perennial questions, I offer some answers — not to close a conversation…

Is Being a Seeker a Poor Example for My Daughter?

To these perennial questions, I offer some answers — not to close a conversation…

Learning to Love

Peggy La Cerra’s “Why Relationships Are So Difficult” ends with a challenge: “Pe…

The Essence of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not so much an act as an attitude. As an act, forgiveness raise…

Trust the Ball

Now that we have two GOP contests under our belt I turned to my trustworthy Magi…

Hosting an Interfaith Harmony Breakfast

The first week in February is World Interfaith Harmony Week. The week was propos…

Great Jews

Rabbi David Wolpe, citing Rav Abraham Isaac Kook, asks a great question in his 1…

Concerning Christmas

Two people emailed me this morning with questions about Christmas. I thought I’d…

I Smell Millenial Spirit

Over the past few months I have visited a variety of synagogues and churches acr…

Email is Great

Email is so great. Just this morning I opened my mail and found 85 messages wai…

Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion?

Would the world be better off without religion? This was the question debated on…

You Say You Want a Revolution

[This morning while sitting in the Nashville International Airport reading the n…

The Promise of Interfaith

Where can interfaith dialogue take us? I was asked this recently, and want to sh…

I'm a Believer (But Not In the Right Things)

During a wonderful conversation I had this morning it struck me (once again) why…

What I Believe

Every once in a while it is good to sit down and clarify what you believe. I did…

Of Gods and Turtles: An Unpublished Interview

I’ve been giving a few interviews lately. This one, I am told, will not be publi…

Jews for Krishna

The fall issue of Reform Judaism magazine contains a passionate, even …

Pewless in Seattle

Americans love God, but according to the new Barna Group survey on religion in A…

Pretty? Pay Up!

I’m not wealthy, nor did I ever think I would be, but I always felt I should hav…

Avoid Future Disappointment and Regret

I love watching television. I find it both entertaining and educational. Just th…

If I Had 1,000 Terrorists

“I would waterboard 1,000 terrorists to save one American life.” That’s what th…

Are You Afraid of God?

Are you afraid of God? Millions of Americans seem to be. Their fear is tied to t…

Religion By the Numbers

According to a study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Philip Schwadel…

Jews Are Cool. Judaism? Not So Much.

Jews are cool. Not all of us, of course, but many. Some are humanist and some ar…

The "America First" Pledge

I am envious of Grover Norquist. First, he's named after a Sesame Street charact…

Is Rep. Michelle Bachman a Bigot?

“Hey, I’m not anti-Catholic, I just think the Pope is the Antichrist.” While not…

Bad Gods Make Good People

In a recent study of the impact of religious beliefs on human behavior* research…

Does God Favor Abortion?

Is God in favor of abortion? Maybe so. An article in The Tennessean newspaper t…

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