Introductions – Patheos & Open Table Judaism

Introductions – Patheos & Open Table Judaism April 5, 2016

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I’m thrilled that my blog has joined the Patheos family of blogs on the Jewish channel.

Open Table Judaism seeks an ongoing conversation about the meaning of Judaism (and life) with Jews and non-Jews.

The central metaphor of this project is the open table – a table where all people of goodwill are welcome, nourished, and appreciated. At the table, we engage one another honestly and respectfully about theological, philosophical, and cultural issues from a Jewish perspective.

Whose Jewish perspective? Glad you asked.

While I seek to exclude no one from the table, my own perspective is that of progressive Judaism. I am a Reform Jew, I belong to a Reform community, and my own theology is firmly rooted in Liberal Judaism.

My Liberal Judaism is then colored by own intellectual formation which includes study in personalism, phenomenology, social philosophy, existentialism, and various strands of nature-based spirituality. Authors that brought me to the table include Arthur Green, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rami Shapiro, Martin Buber, Neil Gillman, Eugene Borowitz, Jill Hammer, Judith Plaskow, as well as Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan.

I don’t pretend that my perspective is the Jewish perspective. I don’t pretend to speak for all Jews – just myself. And I’m well aware that no Jew can fully speak for another Jew or tell another Jew what they should find meaningful or define what constitutes “true” Judaism.

Discussions where someone says, “All Jews have always thought or done so and so …” or “Judaism only permits this or that …” usually end rather badly, mostly because they aren’t rooted in reality or truth. This is not say that Judaism is without parameters, but it is to say that those parameters are fluid and evolve.

Another focus of my project is that I’m trying to have a conversation at the table that discusses Judaism without too much reference to Zionism or Judaism as an ethnic identity. It’s not that these issues aren’t important, but there are already plenty of other tables having those discussions – hopefully, you are welcome to have seat at one of them.

I want to talk about Judaism as a religion and as a theology and philosophy -as a spiritual path and practice. I want to talk about human dignity, the meaning of God, Torah and its application in our lives, the nature of morality, love, justice, and other related topics. I want to talk about how Judaism can add meaning to people’s lives, how it can make the world a better place.

To get a better idea of what topics might come up at table, I invite you to read the posts below that have been brought over from this blog prior to joining Patheos.

If you want to understand my theological thinking better – read the subject headings on the navigation below the blog’s image. These will give you the basic outline of my approach to foundational issues such as God, Torah, Israel, morality, observance, and so on.

I welcome you to the table. Pull up a chair. Read a while. I look forward to reading your comments and ideas. Questions are always welcome, too!

Read more about the project of Open Table Judaism here.

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