Life & Faith Panel

February 26, 2013 6:00 PM–8:30 PM


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Beit T’Shuvah is proud to present our first ever Life and Faith Panel. We have put together a panel of some of the brightest minds around to answer the question, “What does it mean to be human today?” It is not a debate but rather a discussion. The goal is to have a stimulating talk and form new connections, both intellectually and spiritually. It is an opportunity for those who walk around wondering “what does it all mean?” to get some answers.The focus is on the big philosophical issues: freedom, existence, consciousness, faith, G-d, technology, morality, and psychology. The questions will come from the Beit T’Shuvah community and anyone who cares to submit a question.We are so excited to be hosting this unique event!

Panelists’ Bios

Rabbi Dr. Bradley Shavit Artson ( holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is Vice President of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. A member of the Philosophy Department, he is particularly interested in theology, ethics, and the integration of science and religion. He supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is the author of 10 books and over 250 articles, most recently Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, The Binding of Isaac (Jewish Lights).

Eleanor Haspel-Portner, Ph.D., in private practice since 1974, passionately synthesizes clinical applications with esoteric wisdom and scientific discovery. Her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, Department of Comparative Human Development, uniquely qualifies Eleanor to integrate Social Sciences Research (psychology, biology, anthropology, sociology) with a wide array of esoteric studies. Eleanor inspires people to reignite the driving passion at the core of the Self. She has worked with thousands of individuals, couples, and groups to synthesize life experiences in practical ways for living healthy, successful, happy, and creatively fulfilling lives. Eleanor is current President of the Southern California Society for Clinical Hypnosis, an Approved Consultant of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis, a Certified Clean Language Coach (Institute of Leadership Management), the American Psychological Association, Diplomate, American Psychotherapy Association, Relationship Coaching Institute, and International Coach Federation, American Federation of Astrologers, and The Reiki Alliance. Eleanor is an extensively published author. A wealth of information regarding Dr. Haspel-Portner's unique approach can be found at:,, and

Dr. Dale Johnston currently is Distinguished Professor of Humanities and President Emeritus at Antioch University Los Angeles and teaches courses in history of philosophy, utopian communities, religious worldviews, and alternative religious movements. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies, an M.A. in American Studies, a Th.M. in philosophical theology, and a B.A. in English.
From January 1989 through August 1998, Dr. Johnston was President of Antioch University Southern California with campuses in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. He has been involved in public and private higher education in four western states for 45 years having served in executive leadership roles (Dean, Vice President, Provost, Executive Assistant to the President, and President) and as a faculty member in departments of philosophy, religion, and English.
Dr. Johnston's recent publications include "A Multi-Campus System Accreditation Model," Proceedings of the International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation. Madrid, Spain. November 14-16, 2011; with Dr. Elsa P. Johnston, "The Camino de Santiago: An Adventure of Body and Soul." Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean. Don Mankin and Shannon Stowell, Eds. (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2008), pp. 154-69; and "A Cyber-Bibliographic Essay: Internet Resources for Exploring Nineteenth Century American Utopian Communities." Communal Societies. Vol. Twenty-Five, 2005, pp. 147- 76. He is currently writing a book entitled Utopian Visions: Nineteenth Century American Utopian Communities.

Jonathan Braun, M.D., Ph.D., is a physician-researcher devoted to the roles of the immune system in resistance and susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. He is a professor and chair of Pathology and Lab Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Braun was raised in Los Angeles, where he focused on violin performance. He was an undergraduate at Stanford University (BS, chemistry and biology), and did his MD and PhD studies at Harvard Medical School with Emil Unanue. After residency in Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a postdoctoral fellowship with David Baltimore at the Whitehead Institute, he joined the faculty at the UCLA School of Medicine in 1985. Through an integrated approach of molecular microbial ecology and metaproteomic and metabolite analysis, and human genetics, his research centers on the biology of mucosal interaction of host immunity with the local microbial community, and its impact on chronic mucosal inflammatory disease and cancer. He has published more than 130 primary research studies, 13 issued patents, and co-founded three biopharma companies. His recent national service includes Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and President of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. He still play violin when possible.

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