Judaism Is More Than Conversations
Listening to Rabbi Hoffman's sermon defining Judaism as conversations was very upsetting. I love good conversations. I thrive on them. Good conversations are often the highlights of my life. There are many people who have autism, or intellectual disabilities, or Alzheimer, etc., who may be unable to have conversations. To equate Judaism to conversations degrades many people and negates their contributions.
I tried hard to consider that the Rabbi's definition of conversation was more than an intellectual, verbal exchange. However, his long lecture made it very clear how important the verbalization of thoughts and feelings are to him.
Ironically, shortly before the service, Julia Klein came to say hello to me. Julia recently returned to the Bay Area after finishing her undergraduate degree in New York. I hadn't seen her for years. Her eyes sparkled. Her whole self radiated joy. We had a small, what Rabbi Hofmann would call, non-conversation. Yet it made me feel so good. I actually felt high. I remember thinking that this wonderful feeling this young woman gave me is the kind of feeling I hope everyone has on the Sabbath.
Judaism is so much more than conversations. It is a way of living, a way of appreciating the wonders of life, a way of making the world better and a way of reminding all of us how critical we all are to the world. Temple Sinai asked Rabbi Hoffman to join us this weekend to help us further define how we want our community to flourish. While I know that enabling members to have meaningful conversations will be a significant part of our future, there must be more.
I look forward to when every member knows or feels or somehow experiences the sense of being loved, needed and belonging to our community.