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I first met Rabbi Jesse Paikin, a rabbinic Fellow at the Sixth and I synagogue in downtown Washington, D.C., at the Good Soul services during this year’s High Holidays. I’m sure I’m not the only Jewish geek who attends services to hear the rabbi’s sermon, and the one Rabbi Jesse gave about the story of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry did not disappoint.

I stopped by Rabbi Jesse’s office in Chinatown at lunchtime where I had the opportunity to ask him about his background and about that sermon. Our conversation occurred a week or so before the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and while all of us are still processing that horrific event as well as the many, many gestures of support and solidarity throughout our communities, Rabbi Jesse’s words and especially his perspective on free will offer signs of hope, I think, for the future.

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