I am, and have always been, Jewish, but I was raised in a household with a father who was secularly Christian. We “celebrated” Christmas and Easter, but never went to church. We put up a tree but did not speak of Jesus. We colored eggs but did not discuss resurrections.
I have a bunch of blog posts brewing in my head, but felt like I couldn't write anything until I wrote about Newtown. But, what could I say? What can I say?
I was recently asked by someone I very much respect to address "the" question. So I started to write the answer in a post... about five times without any luck. The "Why does a 20-something join a Reform Congregation" question.
When we love something, we want to share it – so why not be inspired to bring our Jewish friends into the kehilla kedosha (holy community), embracing them within a wonderful, sacred congregation?
Israel is the new frontier of Reform Judaism. Since the 1990s the number of Progressive/Reform congregations and minyanim has doubled from 15 to 30, many of them served by native Israeli rabbis ordained at our Movement seminary in Jerusalem. Five thousand families send their children to Reform-affiliated schools, and last year a record 50,000 Israelis attended Progressive High Holy Day services throughout the country.
In Parashat Emor, the Torah reports that a man born of mixed Israelite-Egyptian descent “blasphemed the Name [of God],” was placed on trial, and was stoned to death. A law was then enacted that anyone, Jewish or gentile, who blasphemes the name of God shall be put to death. Over time, in communities throughout the world, laws against blasphemy were put in place to address curses leveled at God as well as perceived slights against some religions.