My previous post (Judaism is Dying) elicited an email response to which I wish to respond publicly. Here’s the email:
“You are a heretic, but not one who is brave enough to come out and say so. So I am calling you out! In twenty-five words or less per topic tell me what you would do with God, Torah, Israel, etc. in your heretical Judaism.”
Reading this I felt like an aging gunslinger being called out from the saloon by a young’un hopin’ t’ make a name fer hisself by killin’ the old man. So I’m strappin’ on my two six shooters an’ steppin’ out to face— oh, forget it. Here is a brief look at my “heretical Judaism” for the 21st century.
God: God is Reality and the creativity that fuels Reality, keeping it fresh, new, surprising, and awe-inspiring.
Torah: Torah is wisdom. Wisdom comes from science, art, music, myth, and literature. Torah study should be the study of wisdom in all its forms.
Israel: Israel, Yisrael, is one who wrestles with God, i.e. engages Reality in such a way as to find meaning and purpose in life.
Rabbi: Rabbis should be Jana yogis (masters of wisdom through intellect and mind) helping people open up to wisdom through meditation and study.
Cantor: Cantors should be Bhakti yogis (masters of wisdom through the heart) helping people open up to wisdom through chant, prayer, and other devotional practices.
Synagogue: Synagogues should be places of meeting; safe houses for doubt, dialogue, questioning, wrestling with Life, and ecstatic surrender into the One Who lives it.
Mitzvot (Commandments): Mitzvot are historic resources drawn from Jewish and other traditions that help one live with compassion, justice, creativity, fearlessness, hope, and humility.
Shabbat (the Sabbath): Shabbat is a day for purposeless play. If you pray, pray playfully. If you study, study playfully. Play helps us regain our sanity and recover our divinity.
Kashrut: Kashrut means linking all your consuming with your highest ethical and environmental values.
Tzedakah: Tzedakah means earning and using your money in a manner that serves both self and society, person and planet.
OK, that’s eleven bullet points. All these need to be fleshed out, of course, but I think I survived the challenge. Notice I saved one bullet just in case my friend is still moving.