07 February 2014

David Rotem 2.0: A Response

J. Turrell, Space that Sees,  Israel Museum
Without question, Facebook and Twitter and Blogging can be helpful tools.

After writing what I thought was a measured response to Israeli MK David Rotem for his remarks about Reform Judaism, a couple of friends in Israel wrote me and offered to get directly to David Rotem my remarks.

And to understand the dimensions of this ongoing struggle for some in the Jewish community--over the legitimacy and authenticity of the diversity of expression of Jewish life--it's important to know that both people who conveyed my words directly to MK Rotem were Orthodox Jews.

One, a Modern Orthodox man and committed Pluralist who has lived in Israel for nearly 40 years; and another, a Haredi woman (and best friend of a Reform woman rabbi) who works with Rotem in the Knesset.

And then this morning:  I woke up to an email from a congregant who has been dialoguing with an Orthodox family member about this issue and my blog post and reported with pride that his Orthodox relative said, "Your rabbi sounds like my kind of rabbi."

I write this decidedly *not* to toot my own horn but to indicate that above all, what binds us together as Jews is not *how* we identify but *that* we identify as such.  At a relatively infinitesimally small number in proportion to the world who have embraced a singularly unique historical and spiritual narrative, we ought to stretch ourselves to love one another more sincerely.

From the moment my father and then grandmother told me so, I've always identified first and foremost as a Jew.  It needn't get more complicated than that.

So this is to thank my friends out there.  We're all in this together.

Shabbat Shalom.

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