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.
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!
Megillat Esther is among the most difficult biblical books to study anew, precisely because it is so familiar. Many assumptions accompany us through our study of the Megillah, occasionally clouding our perceptions of what is in the text and what is not.
The disease of anti-Semitism has persisted through the generations and continues today, with all its false accusations, paranoia and dangerous consequences. How are we to cope with this deep-seated irrationalism? How are we to explain this to our children and grandchildren?
It is the persistence of this gap between ideals and actual behavior that has fueled religio-moral research into human behavior for millennia. How can it be that an otherwise observant person and pillar of his/her Orthodox community has been embezzling funds, breaking federal lobbying laws, or committing sexual improprieties, to name a few of the real-life examples of the gap we’ve seen over the past several decades?
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There are so many really nice, good, religiously observant people, who keep kosher and Shabbat and all the mitzvoth, whose kids go to yeshiva, who learn Torah and dress modestly. All this is crucial—it's who we are and what we need to do and it's keeping Judaism alive. Yet, sometimes, it seems like people lose the center and purpose of it all; a truly intimate, authentic, personal relationship with themselves and Hashem.
Judaism, let it be stated unequivocally, has a different view of guilt: Guilt is a healthy part of who we are. This sounds absurd, even crazy. But give the thought a chance to develop.
Far from being only a necessary skill for entering the work force or getting into law school, literature that includes the broadest possible range of voices and experiences itself fulfills a Torah value. Without it, we would be hard pressed truly to internalize the basic fact of God’s spark in every human soul.