Friday, November 30, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - November 30, 2007

Soviets were free, land was split and it is also Friday so here are my Shabbat Thoughts for November 30, 2007
Both have backgrounds centered on food, and to me, that’s where the beauty is.
Circle KE (Kosher Ethical if you didn’t get it)
Jewschool on the Times on Indie Minyanim… I suppose this is when I say something like because you made the Times it is all good…nah but mazel tov all the same.
Take a Swig…

I am a confused Jew. Much of what I believe is based deeply in modern and secular values. Much of that is based in Jewish thought. But I can’t believe the Torah was written by God, but then again I believe in God, while at the same time doubt God has any place in the world.

This is a very difficult issue for me living in and working in the Jewish community. It would be so much easier if I just believed or didn’t. I sometimes feel like if I was a heartless banker working 75 hours a week on Wall Street I would have an easier internal struggle. I know for sure that lots of people feel the same way. Just look at all of our self-important blog posts about the issue.

But what makes me wonder is why those of us with so many questions believe we also have answers. This week the New York Times did a major piece on the Indie Minyanim. As I said above this is great for those in the Movement. I suppose it should serve as an institutional wake up call for the institutional Jewish community. But I believe this is systemic in my generation…and I blame our parents’ revolt against their parents. (Self-serving, no?)

Over the past fifty years, we have seen the largest most personally interested generation of people ever to have roamed the earth. We have personal computers, personal assistance and personal trainers. It is a “me-centered” world. Due to the extreme concentration of wealth in the Western world, year-round fresh fruit, instant entertainment and self-gratification have become cultural norms. Our parents created a revolution against the system that produced the hardest working and “greatest generation” of Americans.

While the loaded term of “greatest” isn’t really fair to anyone after the WWII generation, (because I think the boomers are pretty snazzy) there is something to the fact the work they did was to promote community, family and country. There is nothing wrong with working hard for the money for yourself and yours, but even if you give a lot away after you make a ton of cash, your way up might have created more self interested walls of separation than were intended.

My parents worked very hard teaching me and my sister that no matter how much we had or didn’t have there would always be people with more and definitely people with less. We worked for different charities and gave money. I am happy that was part of my upbringing because it makes me understand that even if I was working 75 hours a week, I would still be fighting inside.

The self-serving, self-interested, self-centered mentality of many of my friends from college and life upsets me from time to time. But it also serves as a reminder that my personal conflict is what drives me to be community-serving and community-centered, and hopefully my actions will cause communal-gratification.

Shabbat Shalom

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