What does it mean to say that the State of Israel is the “State of the Jews” or, more accurately, the “Jewish State”?
As we rejoice at the many successes of the State of Israel, our joy is dampened by the ongoing terrorism and threats lodged against Israel and the Jewish People. We must stay focused on the remarkable renaissance of the Jews as manifested in the re-establishment of a sovereign Jewish State. We thank the Almighty for having granted us the privilege of living at this special time.
The current religious educational system encourages people to accept the authority of the major Torah scholars of the generation and to obey them unquestioningly, thereby creating a culture of dependency and submission. We must return to and deepen appreciation of independent thought, personal freedom and individual empowerment. Talmudic tradition and adjudication teach us that no Rabbi, no matter how great, is sacred nor should he be revered as a Lord over us.
It seems to have become "politically correct" to speak of narratives, rather than to focus on historical truth. This tendency is blatantly evident in some discussions about Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. We are told that each group has its own narrative, implying that each group clings to its own version of truth and should be respected for its views. This approach--seemingly objective and non-judgmental--actually leads to the distortion of facts and undermining of historic truth.
I hope in this essay I have been able to transmit a vision about the transformative role of community, a community in time, where we find meaning through entering into relationship grounded in history as a way to come home. May we remember before Whom we stand, before the Holy One, before each other in generations past, present and future, and before the unique vision of a community in time that is Sephardic Judaism.
Does Judaism have a theology of other religions? Emphatically, yes. Judaism has a wide range of texts that offer thoughts on other religions. In my book, Many Nations under God: Judaism and other Religions, I present the broad range of traditional sources bearing on this question of the theological relationship between Judaism and other religions. How does one theologically account for the differences between religions? How do we balance our multifaith world with the Jewish texts? These questions are important for both self-definition and social action.
I believe that if we want to increase moral behavior in our generation, as well as ignite a Jewish renaissance in the Diaspora, Intentional Communities could and should play a major role in this effort. My hope is that this article will contribute, if only little, to this joint effort.
To our members and friends
Judaism is much about do-ing. But it is about much more than do-ing. It is do-ing plus. It is do-ing with care, it is do-ing with kindness, it is do-ing in a transcending manner; in a word - do-ing with heart and soul.
To our members and friends,
Our University Network continues to grow and thrive on campuses throughout North America, and we recently signed up a new member in Bangladesh!