Motivational speakers headline upcoming series

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Rabbi Ariel Platt
Rabbi Ariel Platt (Courtesy of Beth Israel Congregation)

Those looking for a motivational pick-me-up amid the ongoing pandemic can attend Beth Israel Congregation’s upcoming two-part speaker series, “A New Year: Regaining A Sense Of Control.”

The series will feature motivational speakers Caroline Adams Miller and Erica Brown. Miller, along with Beth Israel Rabbi Ariel Platt, will speak Nov. 8, and Brown will speak Nov. 16.


Miller’s talk is titled “Creating Your Best Life.” Platt plans to contribute inspirational Torah texts to Miller’s presentation, perhaps along with stories from the Talmud or Midrash. Brown’s presentation is titled “Resilience in the Wilderness: Managing Uncertainty from a Jewish Perspective.”

The Nov. 8 event will be available both in person at Beth Israel and online, while the Nov. 16 event will be online only, Platt said.

“The pandemic has hit us all very hard, especially when the delta variant came about, because we were all thinking that we were sort of getting out of it, we were regaining a sense of normalcy, or trying to,” Platt said. “And then we realized that the pandemic wasn’t necessarily going to go away.

“So this program is a way to bolster our own inner hope, our own inner well-being, our own inner strength as we learn to navigate our new world,” Platt continued.

Caroline Adams Miller
Caroline Adams Miller (Courtesy of Caroline Adams Miller)

Platt originally had the idea for the series while working on a grant proposal for the Hoffberger Endowment Fund for Torah Education, she said. The grant helped make the series possible. “What truly inspired me, for this, was my own desire for rejuvenation, restrengthening, my own need to regain a sense of control in life, and knowing that that’s what I saw in people around me as well,” Platt said.

Platt described Miller as a best-selling author, life coach, keynote speaker, educator and “one of the world’s leading experts on the science behind successful goal setting and the use of good grit to achieve hard things.” She noted that Miller has spoken around the world and given multiple TED Talks, and that Miller is a family friend.

Erica Brown
Erica Brown (Courtesy of Erica Brown)

As for Brown, she is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. She has also written multiple books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. When Platt was fleshing out the program, a participant of Beth Israel’s Lifelong Learning committee suggested Brown for the series.

“There’s a lot in Judaism about creating your best life, being your best self,” Platt said. “There’s a lot of lessons to be learned from the experiences of our ancestors.

“We know that COVID-19 will probably always be a part of our lives, like the flu, unfortunately,” Platt continued. “But there are ways that we can give ourselves little successes, little bits of control back, so we feel less chaotic in our own lives.”

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