Author Spotlight

9 November, 2018

Burger

ARIEL BURGER is a writer, artist, teacher, and rabbi whose work combines spirituality, creativity, and strategies for social change. A lifelong student of Elie Wiesel, he spent years studying the great wisdom traditions, and now applies those teachings to urgent contemporary questions. When Ariel’s not learning or teaching, he is creating music, art, and poetry. He lives outside of Boston with his family.

WITNESS:  Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2018) is his first book.

Ariel’s Story–in his own words

When I was 17, I embarked on a spiritual quest that brought me to many teachers. Of all my teachers, Elie Wiesel was the greatest. To tell you who I am is impossible without including the influence this man has had on me.

I grew up in New York City, an artsy kid in an ultra-Orthodox elementary school, with a blind sister and divorced parents who held very different views on life. My quest for meaning and integration, a way to bring together all the elements of my life into a whole, led me to study for seven years in the closest thing to a monastery Judaism offers. I became a rabbi, wrote hundreds of songs and played guitar at Carnegie Hall with Richie Havens, exhibited art in galleries, danced with thousands of Breslover Hasidim at their annual pilgrimage in Ukraine, participated in dialogue groups between Jews, Muslim, and Christians, got married and had four children, got a PhD in religion and conflict transformation, illustrated folktales, became a teacher, worked as an executive at a non-profit for six years, taught, lectured, led workshops on leadership and Design Thinking, and began using storytelling to connect people across communities.

I questioned everything in search of an answer, but it wasn’t until I met Professor Wiesel that I realized that questioning is the answer. He helped guide me to where I am today –  a teacher, artist, speaker, spiritual healer, and now the author of a memoir of the time we spent together.

At a moment when the loss of civility is eroding human connection, I draw on my teachers’ lives and wisdom to help promote civility and kindness. My mission is to help counter superficiality with nuance, to replace estrangement with encounter, and to empower people to be creative and kind citizens of the world. I do this through teaching, storytelling, art- and music-making, writing, coaching, and consulting.

For more about Ariel Burger:  www.arielburger.com


13 March, 2012

Freeman

Classicist, historian and novelist Philip Freeman brings a remarkable gift as a storyteller and an ability to make the ancient world contemporary through his interpretation and translation of events and great works. Currently the Fletcher Jones Chair of Western Culture, Dr. Freeman earned a joint Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1994 in classics and Celtic studies.  He has taught at Boston University, Washington University in St. Louis, and was the Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in Iowa. He has been a visiting fellow at the American Academy in Rome, the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C., and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and has been awarded fellowships by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and the Lilly Foundation.

Philip Freeman is the author of a number of books on ancient and medieval studies, including biographies of St. Patrick, Julius Caesar, and Sappho, as well as translations of the works of Cicero.  Praising his biography of Alexander the Great  (Simon & Schuster 2010), Wall Street Journal declared: “Mr. Freeman’s ambition, he tells us in his introduction, was ‘to write a biography of Alexander that is first and foremost a story.’ It is one he splendidly fulfills.”

Dr. Freeman has been interviewed on All Things Considered, MSNBC, as well as many local NPR shows.  His books have been reviewed in the Wall St. Journal, Slate, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Times, among others. His latest nonfiction book, Searching for Sappho:  The Lost Songs and World of the First Woman Poet, was published by W.W. Norton in 2015.  More recently, Dr. Freeman has proven a natural as a historical novelist. St. Brigid’s Bones, Sacrifice and The Gospel of Mary are Celtic mysteries (Pegasus), set in the early days of Christianity in Ireland, and feature a young nun, Sister Deirdre, who proves to be a charming detective.

You can also follow Philip on Twitter or check him out on Facebook (philipfreemanwriter).  Also check out www.philipfreemanbooks.com