February 19, 2020

The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence. –Thomas Berry I’d like to briefly explore the intersection of Judaism and the emerging movement of spiritual ecology. I’m strongly convinced that Judaism has much in common with this newer way of looking at religion, spirituality, and ecology – so much so,… Read more

February 11, 2020

  My last two posts have talked about tradition and mitzvot, core aspects of Jewish thinking and identity. I’ve been calling attention to Reform and Liberal approaches to such. Much of my discussion, as usual, is undertaken knowing that I have many Christian, and other non-Jewish readers who are interested in, but not overly familiar with Judaism. So, let’s continue our conversation by diving deeper into mitzvot. In my last couple of posts, I have discussed mitzvot and tradition in… Read more

February 7, 2020

In a Naturalist Judaism, Who Commands? A quick glance at recent Pew Foundation surveys on Judaism reveal that many Jews – as many as 60% of American Jews – identity as atheist or agnostic. Jewish views on God have always varied and the tradition avoids definitive explanations of the nature of the divine. There has always been much less emphasis on the supernatural in Judaism than in Christianity which sprang from it. There is more supernaturalism in the much shorter… Read more

January 31, 2020

I named this post as a play on the title of the excellent book, Swimming in the Sea of Talmud, by Rabbi Gershon Schwartz. The work is a readable, insightful introduction to, and sampling of, the wisdom in the Talmud. A few years ago, a group of ten or so of us from my local Temple met for a few weeks to read and discuss this book together – it was a delightful and enriching experience. The book recognizes the… Read more

January 23, 2020

    It’s been a couple of years since I’ve blogged here. Sometimes, you simply run out of things to say. And talking all the time isn’t always healthy – reflection, silence, observation, rumination – all have their place. Now, after a long break, I’m returning to blogging in what the ancient Chinese proverb wryly calls, “interesting times.” Living in Interesting Times Much has changed since I was last blogging. The Trump presidency has divided the nation and shown a… Read more

March 26, 2017

As a gay man who has engaged a variety of religious traditions, my experiences have been – varied. While I’m heartened when a religious institution, congregation, denomination, etc. is “open and affirming”, that initial optimism can be quickly dampened if the acceptance morphs into “tokenism.” “This is our gay member,” someone says, showing you off to emphasize their open mindedness or largesse. Granted, I’ll take being a token and accepted over being rejected anyday. Yet what troubles me often is… Read more

March 15, 2017

Jewish theology understands itself as the result of several, interconnected Covenants described in the Hebrew Scriptures. The biblical view of Covenant is similar to that of a contract, although a Covenant is much more solemn – it’s not a business arrangement, but a sacred relationship, much like a marriage. A Covenant binds two parties together, committing each to a set of responsibilities and obligations. There’s the Covenant with Abraham, then one with Noah (but that’s intended for everyone, not just… Read more

March 12, 2017

Hard Theism I know a lot of religious people. I have many Christian friends who have a deep, seemingly real relationship with Jesus and who speak about Jesus and God (the Christian one, that is) as if they are persons who they converse with regularly. I have Pagan friends who claim to be in communication with The Morrigan, the Dagda, or some other deity – and for these folks, The Morrigan is just as real as Jesus is for the… Read more

March 10, 2017

The Jewish High Holy Days are upon us. Learn about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and other important holidays. Read more

March 8, 2017

LISTENING TO THE WORLD – JUDAISM AS PHENOMENOLOGY  From a Jewish perspective, the foundation of spirituality is the human capacity of being called by something beyond ourselves, something that both speaks to our nature and is yet embedded there. In moments of quiet honesty, we find ourselves with a given orientation – and that orientation offers itself up as an approach to our better selves – it is the voice of our own objective nature calling us toward fulfillment. We… Read more

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