Where does change come from? All of us have a subtle suspicion, a humble hope, in the possibility of our own betterment, but what does it take for us to get there, wherever ‘there’ is for us? Is it therapy that does the job, or prayer, or is it gumption, grit, dedication, or some other word? For many Jews, Elul is the month of change, or at least the aspiration for change.
If a library is about the knowledge that you have, or purport to have, an anti-library is about the knowledge that you do not yet have, and do not even purport to have.
How can we cultivate a language of loss? On the 9th of Av, the Jewish people honors the profound losses of our national and personal lives. We are honoring this day by listening deeply to the voices of three people who experienced the most profound of losses.
Censorship, the word we used before the pundits and thought leaders of the West gave us ‘cancel culture,’ is the story of the parts of the story that didn’t make it into the story. Which itself is a story. Which we are now telling a story about. Put less obtusely: For every story, or meaning-system, or history, there is a story about what we include in that story and what we do not.
Agunot have often had little recourse within the Jewish legal system, leaving them without the capability to remarry. While there has been social pressure in the past upon recalcitrant husbands—whose actions constitute a form of domestic abuse—in recent months we have seen a wide scale movement to free agunot.
Judaism is a religious culture that places an intense emphasis on continuing the chain of tradition through the context of the family. Yet in an ever-changing contemporary world, families often disagree—sometimes in fundamental ways—about how to live this life. Faced with this disagreement between generations, some choose to ignore these differences, focusing instead on the seemingly uninterrupted flow of history within families. However, reflecting on intergenerational divergence offers important insights on the fundamental nature of family, faith communities, and religion in the contemporary world.
At the very heart of the complex dynamic that is Judaism dwells God. Complicated by millenia of discourse around the who and what, it is easy to lose sight of God in the many definitions that attempt to capture the divine. When discussing God, the challenge is to have an eye open to both the experiential encounter as well as to an understanding of the theological issues that surround this encounter.
Was the year 1840 the end of religion or the beginning? In this special podcast, David discusses the significance of the year and how it remains relevant today. Follow along with the source sheet and listen below
There is a growing debate within Jewish circles about the term “Tikkun Olam” – meaning to fix or change the world. For some Jews, this is our nation’s mission: to stand with the oppressed and bring societal change and redemption to the entire world. Others, however, have criticized this approach, saying that Tikkun Olam as the center of Judaism is a distortion of a religious movement into a political one. For all of us, considering this question is an invitation to think more seriously about our obligation to this world.
Science and religion have long had a complicated relationship. Though they ask some of the same questions, one attributes things to God and the other to mathematical laws, often resulting in claims that are at face value mutually exclusive. But religion can be seen to operate within a different domain, serving to fill in the gaps left by science. Though the reductionism of science is useful, it still leaves us without purpose or meaning.