Friday, March 9, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - March 9, 2007

With a Rudy Giuliani leading Republicans, the URJ about to vote on Iraq and the weather still REALLY cold here are my Shabbat Ideas for March 9, 2007.

"The one good thing in all this," Markowitz says, "is that the relatives coming in from all over, from New York, from Philly, New Jersey, Florida, Chicago, California, now they don't have to rush their kishkes that much" to get to the simcha on time.
Today’s Brian Lehrer Show on Homelessness and Immigration
Gap among Jews widens on question of Zionism
On Iraq

What is Shabbat to you? For me it is a day – a full day – of relaxation. For me it is a day to read the Times, drink good coffee, be with my partner, celebrate life and eat good foods. I am having a real problem with religion as of right now. I know we are all supposed to struggle with our Judaism, that Israel mean to wrestle with our faith.

But I mean let’s be real here. What is the difference if I believe in God and take part in good works or if I don’t believe and take part in good works?

There was a very widely emailed and blogged New York Times Magazine article about the raise of religious people. Why have we all become religious? Is the question why people are religious or why are people still religious? I actually don’t think it matters at all.

I teach kids religious school and we have been focusing on Torah for the last few weeks. We have taught them that the stories of the Torah could be false. I know that most of them are false. I highly doubt that the seas parted for the Israelites or that the earth sucked down an enemy army. So can I be a religious person who finds comfort in celebration of religious holidays?

Being a liberal and a religious person is difficult. I am torn between being progressive with my own ideals of utopia and my conservative theology that can change but at a glacial pace. Can we really reject what we want to make our religion work with our liberalism? Can Reform Jews take what we want and leave what we don’t and still have a basis of religion? Clearly I feel the answer is yes, but it isn’t clear cut.

There are those who feel there should be some sort of Reform Halachah and there are those who think they know what we all need to do and there are those who just make us think. I think this is just confusing and why it is harder to be an engaged liberal (lower case “l”) Jew that it is to be a conservative (low case “c”) Jew.

So where do I see my Shabbat? I see it as a celebration of the week that was created in our joint efforts within our partnership for creation.

Shabbat Shalom.

1 comment:

David Singer said...

I don't actually think I know what everyone should do. I just use that as my method for getting people to think.

That said, thanks for the shout out. And nice post. And nice blog.

Who are you oh mysterious Liberal non-post-demoninational Jew.