Category Archives: Changing Notions of Torah

Speaking in the Captor’s Language

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May 1, 2012

Elie Kaunfer
Revelation is often considered the most intimate moment between God and the Jewish people. It is compared to a wedding, the culmination of a love-affair, albeit a complicated one. But what if revelation was not a model for exclusive attachment but a narrative of universal relevance? How might that change our understanding of the critical moment of law-giving on Mount Sinai? More »

Humility, Freedom, and Transcendence: An Exchange of Letters

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May 1, 2012

Chisda Magid & Ari Weiss Letter Exchange
While many important liberal values can be found in Jewish teachings, progressivism —the belief that ongoing sociopolitical reform improves our society — requires a certain degree of flexibility in order to continually adapt to changing socioeconomic conditions.  The Torah would have to be treated as a living text. Otherwise, it risks becoming irrelevant to contemporary progressive Jews. More »

Searching the Torah’s Seams: A Roundtable

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May 1, 2012

Searching the Torah’s Seams: A Roundtable on Teaching Torah: A group of entrepreneurial informal educators — people who use various art forms to teach and create midrash — speak about their vision of the creative possibilities for teaching Torah. More »

The Paint and the Portrait

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May 1, 2012

Aaron Potek
Connecting to God is not easy, and neither is the process of trying to figure out what God wants from me. Texts won’t make these challenges disappear, but I do believe they can open a door to a meaningful relationship with God. More »

Three Partners in Study: Two People and a Text

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May 1, 2012

Orit Kent & Allison Cook We often hear about the desire to create communities in which Jews gather to actively engage in Torah study. But connecting learners to past and future Torah conversations takes a lot of work. It may also require a reframing of how we think about the task of Torah learning. The More »

To Hear and to Hold

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May 1, 2012

April Peters I might never have fallen in love with Torah if I hadn’t been the very youngest in my family. In a constellation of elderly grandparents, starting-to-gray parents, and two teenage brothers, I was always the baby, surrounded by elders with much to share. My grandfather, an orphan, stressed self-sufficiency; he even taught me More »

NiSh’ma – Changing Notions of Torah

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May 1, 2012

“For the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it.” —Deuteronomy 30:14 Our verse provides an emphatic answer to a question fundamental to the human spirit: Where do wisdom and holiness reside? Preceding verses explored where the Torah, our blueprint for holiness, is not: It is not More »

Torah: An Unfolding Story

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May 1, 2012

Nick Renner In considering the role that sacred texts and Torah play in my life, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a colleague about violent passages found in the book of Judges. Biblical but not Torah, the book of Judges includes some of the more insidious elements in our canonical writings. My colleague More »

Ten or 613: The Commandments

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May 1, 2012

Marcie Lenk How important are the Ten Command­ments in Jewish tradition? Despite the drama of the revelation at Sinai in Exodus 19-20, as well as the ubiquity of depictions of the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue) found in many synagogues, the Sinai event is not a major biblical theme. While one finds More »