Episode 19: Rabbi Michael Birnholz, Reverend Casey Baggot and Swami Durga Das

In It's All About The Questions by Laura

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What happens when a Rabbi, a Reverend and a Swami walk into a radio station? That was a question I wanted answered so I invited them to my show for a conversation about faith, the journey they each took to reach their faith landing place and the questions they asked along the way and still ask.

I have explored many religions and spiritual paths since my brother died when I was 10 and I got so mad at God I couldn’t go to church or even pray anymore. Along the way I realized that all of the religions and spiritual practices I explored had the same goal of connection to a being or idea bigger than humanity.

All the houses of worship I entered welcomed me with open arms even if sometimes it was with a bit of suspicion at first. What I learned for me is that God is bigger than any religion but that all religions had something to offer to help guide the path to a higher level of being.

On this episode I speak with Rabbi Michael Birnholz of Temple Beth Shalom of Vero Beach, Florida, Reverend Casey Baggot of Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida and Swami Durga Das of Kashi in Sebastian, Florida.

Tweet to us @theLauraSteward with your thoughts, comments and quotable moments and share with your friends and family to get a conversation going about your faith.


Rabbi Michael Rabbi Michael Birnholz arrived at Temple Beth Shalom in Vero Beach in 2002 following his ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.  From the biblical garden to tot shabbat, from men’s club bowling night to adult learning while making challah, Rabbi Birnholz is proud to be part of vibrant and meaningful life of his congregation.  His hope is to build Temple Beth Shalom into a House of wholeness, completeness and peace and see these efforts spread caring, compassion and harmony to the whole Treasure Coast.  www.tbsvero.org

Casey Baggott Rev. Dr. Casey Baggott joined the staff of the Community Church of Vero Beach in 2004 and serves as Executive Minister.  Before coming to Vero Beach, Casey worked in the areas of behavioral research, as a chaplain, as a consultant in bioethics and spiritual ministries for a national health care organization, as a contributing author to The Clergy Journal and The Library of Distinctive sermons, as well as serving as a parish pastor in the Minneapolis area.  Casey’s academic degrees include a B.A. in Psychology, and a Doctorate in Divinity.  She has also completed additional training in clinical pastoral education, bioethics, and spiritual guidance and has served in denominational leadership roles.  http://www.ccovb.org/

durga das Swami Durga Das moved to Florida, to be part of Kashi which is an interfaith community founded in 1976. He went on to graduate from Florida Tech with a degree in Business and Accounting. Durga Das began studying Martial Arts in1980; after many years of practice, he earned a 5th Dan Master’s degree in Tae Kwon Do and trained for the 1988 Olympic Games. He was the Florida State Champion in fighting from1986 through 1988.

In 1996 Durga Das was ordained by Ma Jaya as a Swami (selfless servant to Humanity).  In that capacity, he began teaching and mentoring younger generations about mindful meditation and service to others.

From 1998 through 2010 he helped to develop Kashi’s real estate and overall Master Plan in a healthy green fashion and continues to work to foster healthy, sustainable living. He currently serves as CEO of Kashi Foundation and works locally with agencies to serve those in need. He and his family live at Kashi. http://www.kashi.org/

Check out this episode!