You Don't Have to be Wrong

"A wise and important story, engagingly told. I hope everyone, from the most piously committed to the most militantly atheist, reads it and absorbs its lessons."
—Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of
When Bad Things Happen to Good People

You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right:
Finding Faith Without Fanaticism

by Brad Hirschfield

How can we create a world with less violence and division? Can we make room for other cultures and beliefs without negating our own? Is there a way to balance commitment and openness without sacrificing one to the other?

These and other critical questions are explored in a powerful new book, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield (Harmony, January 2008). Addressing some of the key issues of our time, the book reveals how to be passionately committed to one's faith community while remaining open to other religious traditions. Drawing on his own experience as a former activist on the West Bank who saw first-hand what extremism can do, Rabbi Hirschfield examines our fears of the "other" with humor, insight, honesty, and thoughtfulness. Never dismissing another's beliefs or treating difference as a zero sum game, he appeals to the common wisdom found in all religions, offering hope and a new perspective to the American spiritual, social and political landscape.

Grappling with his own conflicts — as an Orthodox teenager growing up in a non-religious home, leading a prayer service at the Reichstag for Jews and non-Jews alike, going to Moscow as the only rabbi participant in a Muslim sponsored initiative, and many more — Rabbi Hirschfield presents diversity and inclusiveness in a new light. Using personal stories, Biblical texts, and other references, he asks us to stretch, leaving our preconceived notions and convictions at the door to make room for new foundations. With so much divisiveness in the world, You Don't Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right offers a concrete and accessible approach for mending fences among people.

Harmony, January 2008
ISBN-10: 0-307-38297-4

"Brad Hirschfield is one of the freshest and most innovative minds in religious thought today. From the ashes of Ground Zero to the summits of global leaders, he has pioneered a philosophy of using ancient texts to create coalitions of understanding and hope. Anyone committed to religious tolerance today must understand his ideas — and must put them to work."
—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born

"Spiritual sojourners of all faiths seeking sincerity and authenticity of religion will benefit greatly from Rabbi Hirschfield's candid testimony of his life's journey. His visionary first-person narrative reveals that the man who makes the voyage — to the human core of tolerance, respect, generosity, and peace — discovers that the voyage makes the man."
—Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, author of What's Right with Islam Is What's Right with America

" 'Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed,' God says to Abraham in the Bible. Yet, for so much of history, the different religions have often turned the hardest of hearts to those who don't accept all their teachings. Brad Hirschfield brings a unique understanding — forged in years of theological study and personal interreligious dialogues — of where so many great faiths have gone wrong, and what can be done to guarantee that the blessing God bestowed on Abraham can, after almost four thousand years, finally be achieved."
—Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics