Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman helps her community create a covenant to welcome a convicted sex offender into the synagogue
Our identity as spiritual leaders, like the collective identities of our sacred communities, is directly connected to the story we tell about ourselves and the story others tell about us. The idea of brit, or covenant, has been core to the partnership between spiritual leaders and their communities; it is also core to the partnership
1. How do you understand the concept of covenant in your personal spiritual life? And, what is the content of “covenant” in your self-understanding as a Jew? How has this changed over time?
2. Does the concept of covenant have any role to play in a non-theistic Jewish spirituality?
3. Have you ever broken a covenant? How was that experience different than breaking a “promise”? How is a covenant different from a contract?
4. God makes a covenant with Noah never again to destroy the earth through flooding. How do we understand that covenant today? How does it speak to Jews and to a greater humanity?
5. Is the idea of covenant as “kol yisrael arevim zeh ba-zeh” (“All Israel is responsible one for the other”) still viable? Can the idea of covenant, predicated in mutuality and responsibility, survive in an emerging era of individualism and self-interest? Is the concept of covenant still relevant to contemporary Jewish theology? Why/not?
Lamented as the least-engaged age group in Jewish life, 20- and 30-somethings are notorious for our dismally low rates of synagogue membership and, more broadly, of any form of religious involvement. Mobile to a fault, we are constantly on the move in search of higher education, better jobs, and potential romantic partners. According to the
Growing up, I was under the illusion that I knew something about being Jewish. My parents were Holocaust survivors from Europe, and relatives and neighbors surrounded our life with thick accents and strange practices — salami sandwiches on rye bread; cholesterol-rich kishke and fruit compote; and cigarette smoke rising slowly from a table where Jews
Lincoln, the film, is a tour de force of American constitutional history as well as an amazing portrayal of the intricacies of presidential decision-making. The film takes the viewer into the most detailed inner workings of presidential, personal, and political choices surrounding the end of the Civil War and the moral choices leading up to
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg creates a covenantal Judaism — without God — based on a deep mutuality and interdependence, “where we are agents of causes that can have wholesome or unwholesome consequences.”
I had a painful wake-up call in Ghana last summer on an American Jewish World Service trip with fellow rabbis. At a center for children rescued from slavery, a boy grabbed my arm warmly and wouldn’t let go. He knew little English, but he smiled at me. He was 9 years old, just midway between
As peak moments go, the Israelites’ encounter with God at Mount Sinai ranks high on the biblical narrative scale. In their encounter with the power that freed them from slavery, the Israelites receive instructions for how to become an am kadosh, a holy people. Yet, almost as soon as they’ve received their assignment, the Israelites