Bringing Judaism to Life
( A few notes from Inside and Outside Judaism)
“ Judaism is the love story between God and the Jewish People.”
Judaism introduced monotheism to humanity… it has uncompromising beliefs about reality. As a legal and moral system- offers a clearly defined way of life.”
Yossi Klein Halevi , journalist, The New Republic
“No people in history are/were remotely like the Jews. The idea of a personal destiny is a Jewish idea.” Thomas Cahill, historian, author, The Gifts of the Jews.
Halevi says that the goal of Judaism as it evolved through the biblical era became the redemption of humanity, the imposition of universal justice and god’s revelation on earth. (translated – making people good people.)
Cahill points out that the stories of the migration of certain herdsmen from Sumer some 4,000 years, ago reveal that “Avram” discovered that Deity was not confined to one place. Not only that, though they were aware of cycles of life, they began to develop a linear view of time, making personal history possible and individual life valuable. (Isaac survived the planned sacrifice.)
How does one bring peace.? Tikkun olam meaning “healing the world” through acts of charity, loving kindness, justice.
When Cahill mentions the Ten Commandments, he realizes his atheist readers may have reached the end of their ropes. Then asks them to check the last five – the proscriptions against murder, adultery, theft, false witness and covetousness.
Which ones would you drop to benefit society?
What came of the travels of this group of wanderers- ethical monotheism- without which our ideas of equality and personalism could not have come into being or flourished. (Cahill)
“Judaism posits a divine paradoxical strategy for achieving that oneness of humanity, not through mass conversions, but through setting aside a people (ordinary people, not saints )
for that special intimacy with the divine.” ( Halevi)
Amazingly, that desire to communicate with the divine has resulted in five different movements in Judaism – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Secular.
What unites all Jews is the love for the Jewish story- the saga of a resilient people who have maintained an intimate dialogue with ancient memories under the most trying conditions and told those stories to their children and their children’s children.
All the while to heal the world, one act at a time.
Prepared by Josephine Leach, Adult Religious Education, First UU Church Springfield, MO.