On the outside, he may look like a rabbi. But deep down, he's still a rock star. Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin, billed as the "Tie-Dye Rabbi," held an inspirational discussion with an intimate group of students on Tuesday. But there was nothing tied or dyed about the talk, which was an attempt to "convey the conventional wisdom behind many Jewish traditions." Still, Gluckin did make numerous almost-psychedelic references to reaching "higher levels of consciousness." "The purpose of Judaism is to intensely experience the pleasures of life," Gluckin said. "In studying Judaism, you are exposing who you really are." Gluckin originally intended to pursue a career in rock music. However, after what he deemed "a mid-20s crisis," Gluckin moved to Israel, where he made a smooth transition from musician to pulpit master. "I wanted to feel life," Gluckin said. "I wanted to be plugged into my existence, and not just through music." Gluckin's transformation into scholar involved shaving his head, moving to Israel and growing a beard so long that it led him to declare himself "Earth Jew." "I became so involved with Judaism that I found myself wanting to wander through the desert barefooted," Gluckin said. Gluckin spoke about some of his own spiritual experiences, which included watching the New York Mets win the World Series in 1986 and listening to albums by his idol, blues musician John Lee Hooker. "This is Rabbi Gluckin's forte," said Jonathan Kohn, director of the Orthodox Community of Penn's Outreach Committee, which sponsored the event. "We wanted to educate the Jewish masses about their heritage, and he is renowned for his approach to the subject," Kohn added. Gluckin's lecture was one of many that the OCP Outreach Committee has held in an effort to teach about Judaism. Previous events included a discussion on the political crisis in Israel, which was held last month. However, Gluckin was a far less conservative speaker than many of the committee's previous lecturers. He interspersed jokes about his collection of Megadeth CDs and the impracticality of some Jewish traditions with his message about connecting to religion. Gluckin also broke into impromptu air guitar solos at random intervals, evoking both laughter and confusion from a crowd that was largely unfamiliar with heavy metal music. "I want to help break down stereotypes that most people have about Judaism," Gluckin said. "Penn has lots of cool Jews, so I enjoy speaking here." Although only about 15 people attended, the crowd was impressed with the personal spin that Gluckin put on religion. "He's a dynamic speaker," College junior Ian Neeland said. "He seems to be very in touch with young crowds."Comments powered by Disqus
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