A Response by Tzemah Yoreh

April 1, 2014
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I would like to take issue with Arthur Green’s response. I do not proclaim myself a secularist at any point in the essay and I am in fact not a secularist. I am a deeply religious person even though that is not rooted in a sense of God and spirituality; this is one of my main points. I recognize that for others spirituality is a central part of religious life but Green needs to acknowledge that this is not true for everyone. At no point do I claim that everyone should be like me, but rather I simply draw on my own Jewish journey to offer ideas on how traditional texts remain a source of inspiration and depth even to an acknowledged doubter such as myself. I am not sure why Green says, “I really don’t know what he [Tzemah] wants of me.” I want to see in the spirituality movement something that he himself admits is a potential lack — a deep anchor in our vibrant textual tradition rather than a dismissal of our tradition as irrelevant to modernity. Most important, what I want is a respectful debate, which is central to our Jewish discourse on ideas rather than a glorification of consensus.

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