We touched on this theme briefly at a synagogue planning meeting last night. In addition to reaching communities at the edges of our regional service area and bringing in also unaffiliated Jews, there was mention of the want of the passion to promote the distinctive wonderful qualities of the Jews as a community.
Not yet approached but on my mind very much as the very stamp of the “secularized” (in truth, I believe) American Jew: I want a Judaism and Jewish ethos more easily accessed and enjoyed on a more universalized basis. I’m not particularly Christian-friendly in this and also flatly reject Muhammad’s all-of-the-prophets-were-Muslim confusion, but as Judaism promotes a deep ethical and moral conversation between man and God and man and man, it may be a beacon beyond itself.
Generals Constantine and Muhammad built empires on the backbone of the Torah, but perhaps they did not build a better backbone in thought themselves.
With that said, “Jewish rejectionism” (of other faiths) also inspires anti-Semitic sentiment. A more welcoming religion might offset that.
A “beacon beyond itself’ — Judaism and the great conversation it invokes has been that, the basis for three great religions and inseparable from them.
It’s that simple.
Why not revisit the qualities of the base?
I’m a little more than half way through Fassihi’s book on Iraq — it seems I have mostly experienced the world through the technology of the the book, thousands of them — and when I’m done, I may well trim back to a second tour through the Torah.
In the process of this thinking out loud, I shared the draft with multifaith chaplain and writer Diane Weber Bederman, who then responded in this way:
I don’t see Judaism as rejectionist. I see it as a religion that says, believe in your God. The Noachide laws. It is a trusting religion that trusts in your beliefs. Unlike others who demean other religions we accept them That is the revolutionary change that Jews brought out of the desert. Caring for the other. Not by changing the other but by accepting the other. Which must not be confused with moral and cultural relativism
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