Sh'ma February 2013: Questions for a Multidimensional Judaism
This month, Sh'ma focuses on a work by Jerusalem-based artist David Moss, "The Multi-Dimensional Jew," which uses six key questions to engage with core Jewish values: self, community, history, God, home, family, and relationships. To dive deeply into these six existential questions at the core of Moss's work, I invited six people to share their thoughts with us:
In addition, B. Elka Abrahamson writes about the sacred secrets of the Hebrew alphabet, and how to find a teacher to help discover Jewish texts anew. Jonathan Woocher writes about how our educational programs and institutions might look if we altered the nature of the questions that inspired them: How would contemporary Judaism change if we were more thoughtful about the questions we ask? Owen Gottlieb shares a new board game based on a multidimensional Jewish sensibility, and Beth Cousens suggests a new set of questions to assess Jewish identity. Our Talmud page (NiSh'ma) examines a teaching about what we hold in our pockets, and this month's ethics column, written by Yair Sheleg, examines halakhah and democracy in Israel.
- Rachel S. Harris reminds us that while we cannot guess what is ahead of us, it is built upon a solid sense of self, and grows on branches that have been well tended and well watered, on trees that were long ago planted.
- Avram Mlotek dives deeper into the text of b'Shem haShem as something that encapsulates the journey of the multidimensional Jew.
- Franny Silverman explores each of the six questions posed in this month's issue through an intricate, text-based image.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…