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Harold Kushner

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Harold Kushner
Born 1935 (1935)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Occupation Rabbi, Conservative Judaism
Author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Harold S. Kushner is a prominent American rabbi aligned with the progressive wing of Conservative Judaism.


Born in Brooklyn, Kushner was educated at Columbia University and later obtained his rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 1960. The same institution awarded him a doctoral degree in Bible in 1972. Kushner has also studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, taught at Clark University and the Rabbinical School of the JTS, and received six honorary doctorates.

Congregational Rabbi

He served as the long time congregational rabbi of Temple Israel of Natick, in Natick, Massachusetts for twenty-four years and belongs to the Rabbinical Assembly.


He is the author of a best selling book on the problem of evil, When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Written following the death of his son, Aaron, from the premature aging disease, progeria, the book deals with questions about human suffering, God, Omnipotence and Theodicy.

Kushner has written a number of other popular theological books, such as How Good Do We Have to Be? (Dedicated to his grandson, Carl), To Life! and many others. In collaboration with the late Chaim Potok, Kushner co-edited Etz Hayim: A Torah Commentary, the new official Torah commentary of the Conservative movement, which was jointly published in 2001 by the Rabbinical Assembly and the Jewish Publication Society. His Living a Life That Matters became a best seller in the fall of 2001. Kushner's book, The Lord Is My Shepherd, was a meditation on the Twenty-Third Psalm released in 2003. Kushner also wrote a response to Simon Wiesenthal's question of forgiveness in the book The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.

List of publications

  • Faith & Family: Favorite Sermons of Rabbi Harold S. Kushner is Kushner's latest book, published in October 2007.
  • Overcoming Life's Disappointments
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People
  • When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough: The Search for a Life That Matters
  • Who Needs God
  • When Children ask about God: A Guide for Parents Who Don't Always Have All the Answers
  • How Good Do We Have to Be? A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness
  • Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict Between Conscience and Success
  • To Life: A Celebration of Jewish Being and Thinking
  • The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-third Psalm
  • Living a Life that Matters
  • Practice Random Acts of Kindness: Bring More Peace, Love, And Compassion...


  • Rabbi Kushner's Poem A Prayer for the World was set to music for SATB chorus by composer Stanley M. Hoffman in 2004 and published by Ione Press, a division of ECS Publishing, that same year.

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