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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lunch & learn with the rabbis

This month we did a reading from Arthur Waskow's book, Seasons of our Joy, about Tisha B'Av. In the article, several calamitous events tied to the 9th of Av are mentioned, and the discussion focused on how to make the holiday (if that's the right word) relevant today.

Two issues in the article struck me. First, the assertion that the temple was destroyed because of sin. Obviously, I don't accept that. One of the group members (Mike) said that especially bothered him, since "innocent people die too." It's a provocative concept and one that I would assume members of the group have very different perspectives on. It wasn't pursued however.

The other assertion was about today's Jewish life being destroyed by Modernism (which I thought Waskow stated, but never explained). I think Waskow meant something like the "truths" of Modernism are incompatible with religious faith (though he didn't actually say that).

A member of the group (Mark) raised this second issue, but Rabbi Fellman sort of dismissed it by saying Reform Judaism has completely changed since the book was written. I don't really know what that means, in relation to Waskow's assertion (or anything else). I think that educated faithful people no longer accept the premise that faith and modernist beliefs are contradictory. But I don't know if that's what Fellman meant with his rather veiled comment. Though it would have been interesting to gnaw on the topic a bit.

We didn't discuss either of these issues in the meeting, unfortunately. It was a big group, and, for the most part, each person raised a unique topic, so there wasn't much in-depth discussion. Not our best meeting ever.



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