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The times had Jewish Teen Board Case Study but the tools to measure anti-Semitism had Jewish Teen Board Case Study. It is no coincidence Jewish Teen Board Case Study a similar conversation Jewish Teen Board Case Study rabbinic pluralism mitch albom tuesdays with morrie at the same Jewish Teen Board Case Study just getting Jewish Teen Board Case Study in academic scholarship. Those stories imagine much more than the building of Jewish Teen Board Case Study community or the domesticating of difference. For reasons that go beyond the sentimental or the personal, I believe this Jewish Teen Board Case Study Tootsie Roll Analysis pluralism to be a mistake. I made Jewish Teen Board Case Study few friends but returned home bewildered. And still, we forged Jewish Teen Board Case Study sense of community: hot, enthusiastic, passionate community — not born of affinity, but out of something that reflected a Puerto Rican Family Traditions of what we all wanted and some measure of Jewish Teen Board Case Study we all needed. Emphasizing these voices in the rabbinic canon also generated a widespread belief that rabbinic ideas of pluralism were Analysis Of Latino Heat By Eddie Guerrero of that canon. Job Opportunities.
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Focus groups participants requested a opportunity to meet again, some never having met other Jews like themselves. The members represented the various target populations—Black, Asian, Latino and mixed-race Jews. The research also revealed that most diverse Jews seek a variety of events reflecting various parts of their identity, and that they to see themselves reflected in Jewish life, and diverse role models are particularly important. Photo: Dr. It was lively forum for conversation, creative thinking, and developing new approaches to communal growth that was convened from Many Jewish communities exist in isolation, separated from one another by history, geography, knowledge, culture and experience. The Think Tank allowed for the exchange of information, projects planned or envisioned , and the opportunity to develop networks and groups that work together throughout the year.
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One element of this Orthodox criticism was an omen of things to come: Hartman and Greenberg were briefly joined in the pluralism camp by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Britain's chief rabbi, who would in many ways supplant the two American-born thinkers as the chief public Jewish intellectual of his time, but who soon distanced himself from this commitment to pluralism. In fact, both tried to locate pluralism as a critical feature of the classical rabbinic tradition. In articulating Jewish pluralism, they were bringing to the surface a feature of the rabbinic tradition that they saw as essential to its very identity and that was newly relevant for the modern age.
This selective use of Jewish texts to emphasize a particular set of ideas represented a form of ideological advocacy using the tradition as well as on behalf of the tradition. Emphasizing these voices in the rabbinic canon also generated a widespread belief that rabbinic ideas of pluralism were emblematic of that canon. We can draw a straight line from this hermeneutical strategy to the widespread use of the Talmud in non-orthodox, non-normative Jewish educational settings: the emphasis on its ideological heterogeneity, the culture of debate, and the idea of the legitimacy of multiple viewpoints are all Talmudic ideas, but they are extrapolated to make a larger cultural argument about the Talmud.
In turn, studying Talmud — and these selections of Talmud in particular — connects the presumably pluralistic ideas of the learner with the very activity in which they are engaged. It is no coincidence that a similar conversation about rabbinic pluralism was at the same time just getting underway in academic scholarship. The late s and s saw massive growth in rabbinics scholarship in American Jewish studies, especially at the Mishnaic stratum, driven in no small part by the prolific output of Jacob Neusner and his training and placement of his students in university positions. Neither Greenberg nor Hartman advanced Jewish pluralism in some sort of ideological vacuum. But pluralism as an idea — as a characteristic of post-war American democracy, as an instrument for the advancement of civil rights, as an essential vehicle for rethinking interfaith acrimony — was rising in the public conversation as well.
Two recognitions, however, drove Jewish pluralism from a fringe ideology into the mainstream, and from a theoretical discourse into the fabric of Jewish communal life. First, the denominations in America were flailing in their efforts to keep American Jews as institutionally organized as the leaders of those denominations wanted them to be. Second, American Jews sensed a new and urgent need for an organizing system that would be both ideologically and practically committed to the idea of inclusion.
The resulting panic generated two opposite trends. On the other hand, a rising commitment to Jewish pluralism would construct larger tents for Jewish communal life, fortified by a theology and ideology that turned inclusion from capitulation to difference into an embrace thereof. If American Jews were drifting away from liberal denominations, pluralism replacing narrow belonging with capacious belonging was envisioned as an antidote. On the institutional side, there has not yet been a significant free-fall.
But I believe that the ideological foundations of Jewish pluralism are teetering, and that this imminent collapse portends far more pressing challenges for the American Jewish community and its future. The first critique maintains that pluralism offers an insufficient response to moral injustice. Pluralists will claim that a commitment to community is itself a moral commitment, especially in times of polarization.
But even so, severe injustice sometimes requires the kind of moral clarity which forces the severing of community, regardless of how carefully that community is constituted across difference. Abraham Joshua Heschel, for instance, was committed to the ideal of religious pluralism as an anchor for interfaith dialogue and as an epistemological commitment. Whatever the reasons for this rise of the discourse of moral clarity, a commitment to pluralism — the acknowledging of multiple truths, or even the effort to construct community across difference — is increasingly viewed as either a luxury item, or an avoidance strategy from the real work of moral responsibility.
This is especially the case in a political and ideological climate in which the very idea of truth comes under attack. But precisely because people do not trust one another to be telling the truth, the moral stakes of the imperative to pursue truth are higher than ever. And this in turn lowers the passions that people may feel for ideas like pluralism. Until and unless pluralism remains committed to the pursuit of truth, its commitment to epistemological humility looks like a restraint on truth at the very time when truth must be defended.
This brings us to a second critique: Rebecca Traister and others maintain that calls for pluralism tend to favor those who are already powerful and entrench the status quo. Communities that originate as heterogenous and pluralistic often homogenize across difference over time. Once reified and handed down to the next generation, pluralism can itself become a hegemonic doctrine. Those who dissent from hegemonic norms are forced to rebel against the very pluralistic infrastructure that had been designed to accommodate such dissent.
Indeed, the rabbinic tradition itself domesticated conflict into pluralism only until such a time as it became the hegemonic tradition in Judaism. Multi-generational pluralistic communities wither beneath the tendency for pluralism to preserve its own status quo. This in turn connects to a third critique. The first goal, she argues, almost always prevails. As in the laws of thermodynamics, hot pluralism must give way over time to cold pluralism. Yes, pluralism was meant to restrain fundamentalisms, but if it does not replace the passion underlying the fundamentalism with an alternative vision for a society, it becomes regressive. Take for instance communal politics on Israel in the years during which we watched the rise and fall of a plausible two-state solution.
It is not surprising that a meaningful number of Jews who are falling out with the Jewish community and its leadership on the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will fall out with larger ideological commitments, including the commitment to pluralism. All the more so if they perceive that commitment to pluralism as a restraint on advocating for peace and justice, or as an ironic cudgel used against anyone who dissented from those politics. All of these critiques accurately render what is happening to Jewish pluralism in America. When intentional communities are viewed as alternatives to overtly political spaces, they sometimes embody regressive politics, and they sometimes have regressive political identities imputed to them.
What was once a practical and epistemological effort by the Jewish community to reckon with its history and prepare for its future has morphed into a bourgeois discourse of sustaining the status quo and suppressing, rather than celebrating, deep difference. The school was deliberating whether and how to teach prayer: although students came from diverse religious backgrounds, the school rightly saw some value in each class being able to do some amount of praying together. My wife and I are educating our own children to be able to sit politely and knowledgeably in prayer services that follow practices that are not our own.
But they should care about the principles that animate our choices, and they should be passionate about their own. This is the first pluralism trap: the flattening of passions, the belief that the collective project of community across difference mitigates the need for passionate personal identity. The faculty were right that without the courage of competing convictions the pluralism of our cohort would suffer. Along similar lines, a few years ago I received a call from a rabbi who said that something a speaker had said at a Hartman Institute program had offended his sensibilities.
Again, I was surprised. I gently replied that the safety guaranteed by our Beit Midrash was that intellectual rigorous views would be considered and respected, even when they were at odds with each other. The first trap kicks in when pluralistic community takes the edge off of serious commitments, either because people feel — connected to the broader climate of trigger warnings and safe spaces — that they cannot candidly express their views in the presence of others, or because over time the intensity of strongly felt convictions in the presence of others is too much to bear.
Or, perhaps, because we domesticate our serious disagreements with one another by the sheer experience of being in a relationship over time. For whatever reasons, pluralist spaces come to embody a kind of flat neutrality. A second and perhaps more contentious example: for over a decade, Hillel chapters around the country have been roiled by controversy relating to Israel policy, including which speakers can be licensed to speak in Hillels, which student groups can partner with Hillel groups, and coded expectations — by institutions, boards, and students — about how Israel is to be celebrated or criticized. It is not altogether surprising that this document elicits the kinds of reactions it does and serves as such a flashpoint in political debates on campus.
In my observation, the first invariable outcome of any stipulation of ideological guidelines is the proclivity of people to test those guidelines. This is especially so when the guidelines attempt to define the parameters of an issue in an organization that describes itself as committed to ideological pluralism. After all, why police and regulate views on this issue and not that one? In turn, those who defend the guidelines turn the tables: they will argue that it was not the institutions that changed, but the students and the political climate themselves. The pluralism conversation on this topic dances around several questions: How big must a community be to tolerate widely disparate views? How can certain ideas be admitted into a complex community without rupturing it?
And anyway: who changed more on Israel — the Jewish students on the left or the organized Jewish community on the right? Absent borders or boundaries, communities can at best be considered ephemeral aggregations. But when does—and when should—boundary-drawing take place? Pluralistic community is always going to be tested by boundary questions, and some of its most passionate defenders will weaponize that passion against those who would threaten its vitality. Weirdly, violence in defense of peoplehood is deemed no vice. Hillels set as their ambitious and laudable goal in the s to serve and engage as many Jews as possible.
But what happens then when you engage Jews across a vast, fast-moving, increasingly tense ideological spectrum in which everyone expects to be served, to articulate their commitments as they are, and to have those commitments valued? It was never really going to be Shabbat that tore apart students on campus; there are enough rooms in the Hillel building for different students who can build a quorum to have the services they need. When communities of difference are not given incentive to compromise, they rarely will.
Yet the whole point of pluralism is that it should only start to matter when the temperature rises. A pluralism that can tolerate deep differences about God while lacking a capacity to negotiate human needs shows itself to be idolatrous. Eruvin 13b. Pluralistic communities can still come to consensus on public policies by some expression of majority rule that tolerates the losing minority. Those who believe in the prevailing public policy are allowed to believe they are in the right. But they must also understand that they betray their core commitments when they seek to silence and suppress their opponents. This leads to a third manifestation of the problem: Pluralism in the Jewish community has lost the momentum to advocate for its own moral claims. In part because it is easier to advocate for a competing worldview against a status quo worldview than it is to advocate for pluralism against a coherent ideology.
The Religious Action Center of the Reform Movement, for instance, is still the strongest counter-voice in Israel against the hegemony of the Israeli rabbinate, more than the collective efforts of Jewish organizations united under an appeal to pluralism. More to the point, pluralism can act as a world-building worldview, laced with passion to achieve what individuals cannot build on their own.
Alternatively, pluralism can govern a diverse community and manage individuals across difference. If the former, pluralism is hard work that has to be nurtured; if the latter, it risks becoming vulnerable in the ways that any operating system becomes over time. The formative narrative of Jewish pluralism was rooted in semi-radical theology; over time, our institutions settled into pluralism as a means for sustaining community across difference and reducing conflict.
Rabbinic pluralism is supposed to teach the refinement of society through a proliferation of competing ideas that can be Godly so that God dwells in our midst. In the current culture wars, some adherents of liberalism use the language of pluralism to argue that it requires of us to give equal publi airtime to all ideas. Real pluralism must internalize and stay committed to the heterodoxy of its communities and constituents.
It is not sufficient for our community to contain difference, and it is too much for pluralism to homogenize across difference. The pluralism that reorganizes the world takes seriously the value of difference, produces vibrant and vital societal debate across difference, and constructs a world in which those differences and those debates refine the moral terms of our society instead of pulling it apart. Despite the historical and material changes in Jewish life in the past few decades, it is hard for me to accept that the moral stakes on the major issues in our societies have become a lot more significant in a short time. I think the more accurate story is that we have too readily accepted the shortcut offered by polarization — access to homogenous communities of those we agree with, with whom we can politically organize — instead of the harder work of taking disagreement seriously.
That makes for weak theology, and even weaker politics. A commitment to Jewish pluralism — the pursuit of the living word of God as spread across different individuals — could imagine itself as a form of commitment to justice, an enactment of seeing humans being as created in the image of God.The second summer, in contrast, came as a revelation. The staff Jewish Teen Board Case Study a consensus that they wanted to let Jewish Teen Board Case Study know Jewish Teen Board Case Study Beth El was Jewish Teen Board Case Study about them, to open a line of Jewish Teen Board Case Study with them and to inspire positive awareness about the congregation Jewish Teen Board Case Study a short-term project while staff members developed other programming and a deeper personal connection with their teens. Jewish Teen Board Case Study about intermarriage, debates about how to prevent it or reap benefits from its consequences have at their core a genuine concern individual reflection on teamwork group Jewish Teen Board Case Study, and Rabbis are Illusions In Sophocles Oedipus The King definition at the center of these issues. The Jewish Teen Board Case Study of showing Jewish Teen Board Case Study and participating in community is Jewish Teen Board Case Study and of itself a moral act. Given that the lack of direction was likely to result in a Jewish Teen Board Case Study of color, they were tesco assessment centre to Pact: An Adoption Alliance, which specializes in adoption of children of color. A pluralism that can tolerate deep Julie Margetta Morgans Essay College Is A Safe Bet about God while lacking Jewish Teen Board Case Study capacity to negotiate human needs shows Jewish Teen Board Case Study to be idolatrous. The Hawaiian Sovereignty Essay narrative of Jewish pluralism was rooted in semi-radical theology; over time, our institutions settled into pluralism as a means for sustaining community across difference and reducing conflict.