Monday, June 10, 2013

Apocalypse Now

 I just celebrated my 32nd year as a rabbi.

When I entered rabbinical school I thought Judaism was in need of a major overhaul. Sadly, the very issues I thought were destroying Judaism then are the very issues newly ordained rabbis are worrying about today: lack of relevancy, outmoded theology, illiteracy among Jewish adults…. Nothing has changed.

Of course this is a general Boomer refrain. We protested Vietnam and did nothing to stop the American Empire. We marched against the military–industrial complex only to add media and finance to it. We sang for peace and paid for war after war after war. We ended the draft and created a warrior class of the poor. We invented Earth Day and poisoned the planet beyond repair. We celebrated a post–capitalist society and created banks too big to fail and bankers too powerful to jail. So maybe this is our problem and the kids will do better.

Maybe. But I doubt it. It is too late for reform, and we are too comfortable for revolution. Only apocalypse can save us now.


Erick Reynolds said...

In the early 1970's (dating myself) I chatted with some Hari Krishnas in a La Jolla CA park and was tempted by the peaceful tranquility of giving up all material things and pursuing a spiritual life.

BUT I was struck by the fact these guys had food and clothing (rather regimented orange robes) and the money and tranquility came from non-spiritual people working for a living. It seemed selfish to me to pursue a spiritual life while dependent on interfacing dependently with a material world. It is this struggle between spiritual and physical that is the on-going conundrum.

The physical appears to be winning on many fronts. But as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, there was a time we would be burned or stoned (not talking weed) to death for these discussions.
Humanity has evolved and continues to evolve in spite of religion dogma, not because of it.

Chris said...

"Only Apocalypse Can Save Us Now," that would make a great song title.

Your words ring with truth, but as a young person I am very cautious when it comes to cynicism. Even as I accept that it is too late for the kind of reform we really need, I continue to look for ways to improve the world around me. For me, this is an essential part of loving life, people, and the planet. Perhaps we will all go down in a beautiful ball of flames, but until then we can band together and try to shine a little light in to the darkness!

Rabbi Rami said...

Nice to hear that you refuse to despair. I agree with Chris that we can live with compassion even if we are all going down with the ship.

Erick Reynolds said...


Mordechai Ben Nathan said...

Yes the elder statesman, the man with the plan, the grand interpreter of Ecclesiastes, the author of many inspiring preachy self help books now descends to the nadir of cynicism. Yes the very place, the inexorable end point of those lacking faith it is the black hole of despair.