Open Table Judaism strives for a meaningful and inspired Judaism – engaging the tradition with modern sensibilities.
The table is a metaphor for a space where people are engaged, fed, and sustained. An Open Table implies an attitude of welcoming and hospitality that invites others to have a seat at the table, invites others to join the discussion, and includes, rather than excludes others from the community.
When I chose the name for this blog several years ago, I did so because I’ve often thought of Judaism and Jewish tradition as an Open Table – a feast, a savory spread, a satisfying, soul-nourishing collection of wisdom, practice, insight, and values – offered freely to all.
What’s on the Menu?
My goal is to call attention to the beauty, truth, and wisdom of Jewish tradition and practice.
I’ll strive to offer my insights in a way that are humble and inviting – not triumphant, judgmental, or arrogant – while always being open to dialog, challenge, and disagreement, welcoming valid diversity of approaches – within Judaism and beyond.
I hope to find ways of speaking about Judaism that are reasonable and acceptable to the contemporary, educated, postmodern mindset. I hope to be able to render Judaism clear and meaningful for Christians and others who might be interested in learning more.
I hope to do my theology using evidential reasoning – employing the best of human knowledge – science, social science, historical scholarship, anthropology, cultural studies, neuroscience, and psychology. I aim to offer a plain spoken theology rooted in reason, historical research, realism, and diverse human experience, in a manner that seeks reasoned evidence for its claims, that moves beyond theologies of identity, academic jargon, and ideology.
And finally, I hope that in striving for the above, I help offer a vigorous defense of human dignity that opposes the dehumanizing forces of today’s forms of empire, racism, sexism, patriarchy, secularism, consumerism, and nihilism – things that Judaism has dealt with for thousands of years and has gained much wisdom by resisting.
Table Rules – we seek a respectful, informed conversation. There will be zero tolerance for hateful, anti-semitic, or disrespectful comments – such will be removed. While we seek an open conversation, those commenting are asked to keep their comments focused to the topics at hand.
About Gregory – originally from New York City, Gregory has called the Grand Rapids, Michigan area home since 1995.
Gregory earned his B.A. in philosophy and theology at Franciscan University in Ohio (1990), his M.Phil. in philosophy at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein (1992), and completed his doctoral work in philosophy (Ph.D.) at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (1995).
He is currently completing a program in Comprehensive Jewish Studies at Darshan Yeshiva.
A member of Temple Emanuel, a Reform congregation in Grand Rapids, he strives for a Judaism that is liberal, open, and hospitable. He finds particular inspiration in the work of Arthur Green and NeoHasid movement, as well as Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Rami Shapiro.
Gregory is engaged in a variety of professional enterprises and immersed in a range of community projects and theological and academic interests – you can learn more at gregorygronbacher.com.
You can reach out to Gregory at email@example.com.