Principles of Jewish Revival
“Our numbers are growing, American Jews are brimming with pride of identity – and yet many of our institutions remain in decline. This combination of circumstances creates space for those who were once marginalized to come to the center with visionary approaches to Jewish life and belonging,” writes Rabbi Benjamin Spratt, senior rabbi of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York, and Rabbi Joshua Stanton, senior fellow at CLAL and rabbi of East End Temple, also in New York, in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Fundamental changes: “They are sowing a new Jewish revival. We cannot yet see all the ways in which they will create fundamental changes in how we come together, what we emphasize in Jewish practice, who is welcomed into the vast tent of pluralism, and how we organize our resources and power for the greater good. But there are principles that can guide our process of community transformation, as we move away from a status quo that has served our diaspora well for more than a century.
Needs today: “We need a Judaism centered on people and, more specifically, centered on those who are alive today. Our love of long-standing institutions and ways of life honors those who have made our existence possible today. Yet our backward gaze must not interfere with our ability to experience the needs of today and envision a future that calls us to responsibility and purpose. As previous generations reached a vision of improvement, we are called to do the same.
Read the full piece here.
PAIN AND REDEMPTION
The long road to memory
“At the height of the Three Weeks, as we approach the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’Av, I understand those who cannot mourn the First and Second Temple. It feels like too distant a historical loss and a mentally and emotionally unattainable religious ideal,” Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, writes in an opinion piece for eJewishPhilanthropy.
Generational trauma and collective memory: “Today, however, we know more about generational trauma in psychology and how a major historical episode can leave a deep imprint on those who are unborn and who have never personally felt the pain but who still carry the suffering. This year, having left Israel with a remarkable encounter, I approach Tisha B’Av differently, with an imprint of generational trauma as an individual and as an heir to the collective memory, conscious of how pain and redemption are always intertwined in Jewish tradition.”
‘I walked on it’: “Last week I was invited on a personal tour to see the latest excavations of the City of David. Once there, you will walk through King David’s palace from 3,000 years ago and the city that he built at the foot of the Temple Mount. Archaeologists have recently discovered the true route taken by pilgrims in the Second Temple to ascend to Jerusalem on the three main pilgrimage festivals. They have discovered the route that stretches from the Shiloah Pool at the area near Robinson’s Arch, and I walked on it.
Read the full piece here.