Friday, 21 July 2017

A History of Pointless Hatred
We are deep into the ‘Three Weeks,’ a time marking the destruction of the Temple-based Jewish life and the expulsion of the Jews from our ancient land. The Talmud blames our exile on ‘Sinat Chinam’ (Yoma 9a-b) - literally ‘hatred given freely’. There are a number of tales and utterances scattered across the Rabbinic oeuvre which cast light on what this excess of hatred might have been, or perhaps re-articulate what the problem - so severe it could lead to such destruction - actually was. We also have the remarkable testimony of Josephus, the Jewish-born Roman historian, who paints a dramatic picture of life in Jerusalem before and during the Roman siege on the city and its destruction.

This week, in Shul, I want to look at these sources with both a historically critical eye and a religious neshamah. Next week I’ll try and use such truths as we can from history in an analysis of our contemporary successes and failings as the Jewish people, both in and outside the modern State of Israel.

And then on Monday night, 31st July and Tuesday morning 1st August, we will commemorate together the 9th Av, the destruction of the Temple. More info here about what is always a deeply moving and important moment in our yearly cycle as a community.

All welcome,

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Jeremy

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

On Welcome and Relationships Between Jews and Non-Jews - A Special Invitation to Join Rabbis Jeremy Gordon and Amichai Lau-Lavie this Saturday.

I’m delighted that two good friends of New London will be back this coming Shabbat. Natasha Mann is  Bat Bayit of the community, now a Rabbinical Student at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. We will also be joined by Rabbi Amichai Lau Lavi of Lab/Shul in New York. Amichai has long had a reputation as one of the most creative and provocative leaders of New York Jewry; he’s the founder of Storahtelling and an inspirational figure for many. In recent months he’s been circulating an argument claiming that the Biblical notion of the ‘Ger Toshav’ - resident alien - provides a mechanism for doing something that for so many, and for so many years, has been a taboo within traditional Judaism - officiating at marriages between Jews and non-Jews. It is a huge issue in American Jewry - see here for more. His is not a position I agree with, either personally or on behalf of the community, but many of the issues Amichai raises - the failure of threats of exclusion to reduce levels of intermarriage and the necessity of recognising the significant Jewish commitments that exist in many intermarried families - are vitally important.

In Shul, on Shabbat, Natasha and Amichai will join me for a discussion on being a welcoming community. All, of course, most welcome.

On Shabbat afternoon, from 5-6:30pm at my home, Amichai will present his paper on the Ger Toshav and we’ll have an opportunity to discuss both the paper and the broader issues it raises. In particular, I want to welcome couples and families of both Jew and non-Jews and others particularly interested in this issue. Please do let me - rabbi[at]  know if you can join me.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...