“Lost in the Valley of Death” and the new relevance behind the story of Purim (originally broadcast in July 2022 and March 2018)

Kimberly Winston speaks to Canadian journalist Harley Rustad about his powerful nonfiction book, Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Death in the Himalayas. Rustad shares how he was able to intimately capture the story of Justin Alexander Shetler, a 35-year-old, spiritually curious seeker, who disappeared in the remote Parvati Valley of India in 2016. Then we explore the relevance of the story behind the Jewish festival of Purim to the harassment and oppression of women today.

A Chameleon
Harley Rustad recounts the life of Justin Alexander Shetler, an American man who vanished in India’s Parvati Valley in 2016. Shetler, described as a sort of “lost boy” by his friends, was on a spiritual quest, one that caused him to push himself to greater and greater extremes and eventually, fatal danger.

Find Your Own Truth
Rustad recounts his journey to India to trace Justin Alexander Shetler’s footprints and describes how the 35-year-old embarked on a perilous hike as a disciple of a holy man he barely knew. In the end, two men went up to the sacred lake, but only one came back.

An ancient story challenges us to ask…will we rise to the moment?
Earlier this week the Jewish community celebrated the festival of Purim. It involves feasting and wearing costumes while remembering the story of how a queen saved the ancient Jewish people. We talk with Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman who is finding new inspiration in this ancient story to stand with oppressed women in the #MeToo era.

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