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.
As we approach Deaf and Hard-of -Hearing Awareness Shabbat, I am reminded of Leviticus 19:14, "You shall not insult the deaf."
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?
As a kid, Shabbat meant brisket. I loved that. Every once in a while, my mother would get inspired and feel the need to… cook? No, she always cooked in those days. It wasn't until many years later that dinner was more likely to be ordered than made.
“Who’s that guy?” I asked my mom.
“He’s the rabbi,” she answered. I stared up at my mom, with a blank gaze on my face.
When I was eight years old, my family joined a synagogue for the first time.
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.
Typically, at some point in my work on this project, my wife will lean over my shoulder and ask me, in her own style, “So. How are the Jews this year?” Some years that is a difficult question to answer. This year the answer is clear: The Jews are afraid.