A new look at a big question. Inspired by The Calling, a PBS mini-series.
The Calling 's Shmuly Yanklowitz and Rob Pene showed up as a surprise at a discussion about The Calling at a California correctional facility on May 6th, and Rob wrote the following reflection after their visit:
Rabbi Shmuly and I had the opportunity to share our stories with some folks at a correctional facility near Magic Mountain this past Friday. Everyone had previously viewed The Calling the night before and were expecting filmmakers to come in for a discussion on the film. But to their surprise, we walk in :)
The guys were super respectful, offered encouraging comments and asked some very deep and insightful questions. Ranging from needing to be better fathers, to probing human rights movements, and wanting to know about burnout/regrets and living a balanced home & "service" life. I could tell that our dialogue was truly beneficial to both Shmuly and myself and for the entire group...
An incident that stood out to me was, during the talk, a young mexican dude stood up to give a comment, looked directly at me with a gaze of familiarity...and I Instantly KNEW who he was...he was a cat from back in the day that i had done some bible study with and actually mentored in the studio before while I used to do hip hop concerts in the streets of San Bernardino...It was quite moving!
It was funny because as soon as he stood up, I stood up from my chair as well and we had a little bit of a stare down. The whole crowd didn't know what was going on. I shouted to Albert "What up dawg?!" and the look on everyone's face was more "What the heck is going on?" But then we embraced like long lost brothers and it truly was a moving moment in the room.
At the end of our talk the guys wanted me to rap (which I had told them that I no longer rapped) so I brought Albert back up to the stage, asked for a drummer, who just so happened to have signed with the LA Dodgers a few years ago. And we had like a mini-concert :) It was crazy, everybody's hands in the air while Albert & I traded verses buzzin like old times. By request of the inmates, Shmuly closed out our time together with a prayer that moved mountains!!!!! The word that resonated loudly with me in the prayer was "hope" and as he said that, I had goose bumps :)
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity and will pray for those dudes to walk in their calling offering hope to others and being an encouragement to the world!