Engaging with difference should not be mistaken with accepting a doctrine of moral equivalency or finding ‘common ground.’ We do not need to paper over our differences. We can be strong in our moral convictions. Yet there is a distinction between moral courage and moral absolutism. We must invite shades of grey.
We are all called to make Torah our own. This means letting the stories speak to our own lives and bringing our lives to the Torah. Part of being a fully-fledged Jewish citizen – which is what the Bat and Bar Mitzvah process is about – is taking ownership of that legacy. It is yours, mine, ours: the province of all who journey to her.
As I was typing this sermon, my two beauteous children were chasing each other with foam swords, the living room looks like toys exploded all over it and an ever-insurmountable pile of dishes is guilt-tripping us into washing them. These are of course not the images that make it into the family album or onto the social media account. It is not the story we are comfortable telling about ourselves.
As we contend with complex issues of polarization, hatred, the call for increased security, the inability to speak to difference and the myriad reflections on our American Jewish identities, one thing stands out clearly for me as a non-Orthodox, ‘Reformative’ rabbi. This is the hour of our Judaism.
Much has been written about the role of women in Scripture – far too much for me to summarize here. Women are compromised, erased, subjugated…. This is not an ancient story; it’s a very contemporary story and the obvious parallels leap at us from the page.
We live in a world of information overload. In fact, we are so super saturated by choice and by information, that it can actually paralyze us and shut us down. This phenomenon is called ‘decision fatigue’…. In our hyper-complex world, we are spoilt for choice… and the choice can spoil us.