Archives for January 2014

God, Part One

2.1 “God” is a word, and words need definitions if they are to be of any value to us.2.2 There are many definitions of the word “God,” and you cannot speak meaningfully about God if you fail to define what you mean by the word “God.”2.3 For some God is a man, often a white man, who resides up in heaven. This God created the universe, and humanity in particular. God judges the deeds (and in some religions the thoughts) of human beings, and rewards or punishes them for these either in an af … [Read more...]

3. Our Story, Our Selves Part Three

1.11 For too many Jews today Torah is a fetish be to worshipped, but for the ancients it was a Rorschach blot to be turned and turned and turned again until the imagination was on fire with new wisdom and possibilities for God and godliness.1.12 This wild and deliberate misreading of our texts—Torah, Talmud, Siddur, Zohar, and others—is what it is to be a Jew. We are the People of a Book that disappears and reappears new with each reading.1.13 If we are taught well, and we rarely are, we … [Read more...]

2. Our Story, Our Selves Part Two

1.7. Our story was once oral, and made fresh with each telling. Storytelling is intrinsically anarchic, creative, and liberating. Print is fixed, and when an oral story becomes trapped on a printed page the authority of the storyteller gives way to new authorities, often armed, terrifying, demanding, and life–smothering authorities.1.8 To keep this from happening to our story we invented the art of deliberately misreading our story, helping the story say what we need and not what we are t … [Read more...]

1. Our Story, Our Selves, Part One

1.1. Jews are storytellers. The story we tell is of a god who creates a world, and partners with a people to bring godliness to that world. We call this god YHVH. We call this world planet earth. We call this people—ourselves—Yisrael, godwrestlers.1.2 Story and storyteller arise together; neither precedes the other; neither outlasts the other. We Jews are nothing without our story; our story is nothing without us.1.3. Because our story is ancient, we Jews are ancient. Because our story co … [Read more...]

Welcome to Rabbi Rami’s Guide to Judaism

Rabbi Rami’s Guide to Judaism is just that: my guide, my opinion, my Judaism. I make no attempt to defend or attack other forms of Judaism. And I make no attempt to convince you my understanding is superior to any other. My only goal here is to share the Judaism I love. By what authority do I do this? I claim no authority and desire none.If I were dead—better yet long dead—some other rabbi might write a book using me as a prop, inventing a Judaism in my name, and claiming me as her autho … [Read more...]