Shana Tova! Today I’d like to share with you some of my reflections on “The Diversity of Cultures Within Israel’s Borders.” Our tour began in Jerusalem, a beautiful city, of buildings on top of buildings, up each hill, reaching far into the distance. I didn’t even bother taking photographs. Got it, I thought. This is [...]
Whenever I discuss Israel with anyone, the first thing I say is, “Politics aside, it’s the most dynamic country on Earth.” Israel invented WAZE, and drip irrigation, and molten salt solar power plants, and Soda Stream, and your telephone voice mail, and the world’s first electric passenger airplane (it debuted in June at the Paris [...]
We were heavily criticized by some in the Jewish community for meeting with Palestinians and other Arabs, and some of our Arab partners were likewise criticized for meeting with Jews, particularly Jews who supported Israel. A few members dropped out, but most of us persisted despite disagreements. More important, as we talked to our Jewish friends and others about what we were doing, the climate did start to change.
God never made sense to me, but religion does. The conversion worked in the end because Judaism is not a dogmatic religion. There is no belief requirement, just belief conversations. What really matters is ethics and community.
Like the tallis that we will be wrapped in at death, this ethical fabric we weave will envelop the story of our life. My friends, make it beautiful, a “coat of many colors” But make sure that one of the spirit holes leads to the insight that Mohammad Ali opened for us: “Float like a Butterfly/Sting like a bee.” –this sage advised. Yes, but we must pray to HaShem to give us the wisdom to lead a life knowing when is the right time to do which.
Journeys are an interesting thing. Just when you think you’re in a groove, at a safe comfortable cruising speed or altitude, something happens to change it up.
There is no default setting. We have to show up and make our whole selves visible. Once we have found each other, once we have said yes, we are just getting started. The real journey is the back and forth and delicious curiosity and brave truth telling and honest desire, through which we will remake the world.
For me, my spiritual quest has been searching for The Creative Divine Source, before I could have declared that I believed in God.
My Jewish identity has solidified during my time with this community. For the first time in my life, I don’t hesitate if someone asks me if I’m Jewish.
Converts are a critically important part of Judaism because of who we are rather than in spite of who we are. And by that, I mean—all of who we are—not just the Jewish parts.