WEEKLY NEWS

Jan. 24, 2023

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THE ROAD FROM PIOUS TRADITIONALISM TO CHALLENGING SKEPTICISM


Friday Night Services

THIS WEEK:


✦ Jan. 27, 7PM


  • GUEST SPEAKER / SCHOLAR: DR. PAMELA ARONSON, U-M DEARBORN

"GEN Z & THE PANDEMIC"

Prof. Pamela Aronson, a sociologist at U-M Dearborn, will talk about her research on "Gen Z," focusing on ways in which the insecurity and uncertainty of the pandemic impacted these young adults’ lives and what their use of technology tells us about their hopes for the future. 

IN-PERSON & STREAMING AT YouTube.


Click HERE or on the graphic to join live or recorded.


✦ Feb. 3, 7PM


  • GUEST SPEAKER: DR. BRUCE HILLENBERG


"MUSAR PRACTICE: A HUMANISTIC JEWISH PERSPECTIVE"

Musar (ethics) Literature comprises a 1100-year-old Jewish formula for study and practice to promote personal development and enhance interpersonal relationships. This presentation will describe how Humanistic Jews can incorporate Musar practice into their commitment to improve the world. Dr. Hillenberg will also present a vision for developing Musar practice and learning at our congregation.



✦ Feb. 10, 7PM


  • RABBI FALICK WILL SPEAK


"THE JUDICIAL CRISIS IN ISRAEL"

As Israel's new government initiates numerous controversial judicial reforms, critics decry the changes as anti-democratic. Rabbi Falick will talk about the changes and why they have provoked such massive domestic and international outcry.


✦ Feb. 17, 7PM

Celebrating International Darwin Day!


  • GUEST SPEAKER: IZZIE ROSE ELFONT CARADONNA

Izzie Caradonna, CHJ member and Cranbrook H.S. student, will share her outstanding B'mitzvah speech about the implications of Charles Darwin's work, from the day it was published until now.


From Rabbi Falick:


Izzie's presentation on Darwin's impact was one of the most meaningful and well-researched of the many outstanding B'mitzvah presentations I've experienced. She places an emphasis on the Theory of Evolution's many cultural reverberations, including what it meant to the development of Humanism. Her presentation will be of interest to young and old alike. If you think you have nothing to learn from our young people, Izzie's presentation will surely change your mind!


You are invited to a meeting of the


MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT COMMITTEE


Bring your ideas to help us continue to grow!


TOMORROW!

WED., JAN. 25, 4PM


On Zoom*: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81991056394


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

ELAINE FIELDMAN: efieldman4@gmail.com


*Zoom requires password. Please email rabbi@chj-detroit.org if you need it.

TOUR SECULAR ISRAEL


WITH RABBI ADAM CHALOM &

RABBI JEFFREY FALICK


Sponsored by: International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism

All your questions answered in our recorded info sessions

AT THIS LINK

TRIP DATES:

DECEMBER 10 - 21, 2023

Itinerary and more at:

https://secure.ayelet.com/IISHJIsrael2023.aspx

NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING


Saturday, Feb. 11, 11:30AM to 12:30PM

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82417709465


ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND!

COLLECTIONS UNDERWAY


Help us to clothe and supply those in need ...


... with toiletries and new winter wear: warm scarves, mittens, gloves, hats, and socks (no cotton). Drop off in lobby.


If donating gently-used or items from other categories, please first contact Audrey Pleasant (audreypleasant@gmail.com) for more information. 

KNIT / CROCHET / CRAFT ... FOR A CAUSE


Next Session:

Sat., Jan. 28, 2 - 4PM.


All are invited: beginners and experienced. Instruction and materials available upon request. Completed items are donated to charity.  

URGENT OPPORTUNITY!


There are TWO babies on their way over at Freedom House of Detroit!


PLEASE CONSIDER A GIFT!

Let's shower them with love with gifts from their baby shower registry on Amazon!


CLICK THIS LINK TO DONATE:

https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/KKRTWW8PYU4V/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex



👇👇👇👇

At checkout be sure to select "Freedom House Detroit's Gift Registry Address" as the shipping address.



AND PLEASE SHARE THE LINK WITH YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY!

THE ROAD FROM PIOUS TRADITIONALISM TO CHALLENGING SKEPTICISM

In today’s commentary I am continuing my take on the questions that Rabbi Wine suggested must be answered by every modern Jewish movement. Here is his third question:


"How do we bridge the gulf between the Jewish personality of the past – pious, faithful, reverent and traditional – with the Jewish personality of the present – challenging, rational, skeptical and creative?"


While Rabbi Wine spoke about the two Jewish personalities, I prefer to look at the two broader contexts of pre- and post-modern life. I will work off the assumption that the gulf he refers to is between the Middle Ages and the beginnings of early modernity, approximately before and after 1500 C.E. Since Christian Europe hosted the largest Jewish community and is the source of most American Judaisms, I’ll start there, where there was surely a very great difference in conceptions of reality before and after 1500 C.E. 


During the Middle Ages, Christian nations viewed the universe through one or another version of Plato’s “Great Chain of Being.” This hierarchy of everything placed God at the very top and made its way down through spheres of angels, humans, animals, plants, and minerals. They envisioned the human sphere with its own sub-hierarchies. At the top was the Crown, followed by clergy and nobility, and ending with the peasantry. (When in the 17th century modernity threatened the monarchy, those who still clung to the Great Chain of Being argued that it called for a Divine Right of Kings. Two prominent kings – England’s Charles I and France’s Louis XVI – would lose their heads over this, putting the final nails in the Great Chain’s coffin.)


Medieval Jews lived in this reality, too, so it was not incorrect for Rabbi Wine to describe the basis of their own social organization as “pious, faithful, reverent and traditional.” The whole of Christendom was organized that way. However, we also know that modernity ultimately loosened the traditional social and political binds of Christian societies. Who was responsible for the European Christian transition away from these medieval concepts of reality? It was the product of those who were “challenging, rational, skeptical and creative.”


From Renaissance to Reformation to Enlightenment, such Europeans changed everything. At the risk of distorting Rabbi Wine’s metaphor, they did not bridge a gulf. They completely filled it in through hundreds of years of work to replace the Chain of Being with countless competing alternatives. It was a long and painful process, frequently involving massive bloodshed. Yet at the end, Christendom looked entirely different. Soon we would not even call European civilization by that name.


At the same time that Europe’s leaders were shaping what became our modern world, its Jews were busy producing their own challengers, rationalists, skeptics and creative types. Among the first and most famous was Benedict (Baruch) Spinoza (1632-1677). He was not terribly effective, mostly because he was way ahead of his time, but he was far from alone. While Christian Protestants were duking it out over the Reformation and republicans were challenging monarchies, Jews were engaged in parallel challenges. Today’s pious Hasidim started out as rebellious Eastern European spiritualists, determined to overthrow the entire structure of Jewish community. Central European Jewish religious reformers introduced creative new approaches to Jewish practice. Those drawn to European nationalism looked to its principle and conceptualized Zionism. On and on it went as new Jewish responses emerged and evolved.*


Humanistic Judaism is but one creative, rational, and skeptical response to the many, many post-medieval changes that so profoundly altered our world. Though it sometimes seems helpful to portray our movement as gulf-bridging, I prefer to see it as but one important attempt among many by which Jews update Judaism. The concept that Humanistic Judaism erects a bridge over some gulf-sized gap between two distinct “personalities” doesn’t quite work for me. Perhaps I’ve been in too many other successful challenging, skeptical, and creative Jewish settings to feel that we got it all right. Rabbi Wine’s innovations are significant and important. The Jewish world needed a nontheistic Humanistic version of Judaism and as a Jew and humanist it was a great fit for me. It is not, however, the only Jewish movement to successfully answer his third question. It is but one among many that honors parts of our traditional past while calling upon the same skeptical and creative impulses that every modern movement has called upon for the last 500 years.

 

By the way, my analysis of Rabbi Wine’s question is by no means a disagreement with his answer. His is the road I chose to follow and here’s what he had to say about the third question:


"Humanistic Jews find the Jewish present just as interesting as the Jewish past. The secular world of science and technology has given the Jew more education, power and intellectual clout than he has ever enjoyed before. By virtue of their unprecedented affluence and freedom, contemporary Jews are, at least, the equals of their desert ancestors. An appropriate Jewish history gives as much time to Einstein as to Moses."


To which I quite traditionally offer a hearty “Amen!”


______


* In the interest of space, I deliberately left out the Jews of Islamic lands who, like their Muslim neighbors became skeptical, rational challengers in their own right even earlier than the Jews in Christian Europe.

*IMPORTANT LINKS


YAHRZEITS


Click here to see upcoming Yahrzeit Memorials.


TRIBUTES


Click here to see recent Tribute Gifts.

BEST WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY TO:


RuthE Goldman, Rabbi Peter Schweitzer


Please inform us if you know that someone is ill or in need.

*COMMUNITY NEWS


Holocaust Day Film Screening:

"Il Giorno della Memoria"


The Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan invite you to a screening and discussion of "Il Giorno della Memoria" on Sunday, Jan. 29, 6pm, at the Maple Theater in honor of International Holocaust Memorial Day.


Click HERE for complete details.

CURRENT COVID-19 SAFETY POLICY


VACCINATION & MASK REQUIREMENTS


VACCINATION IS REQUIRED. When CDC transmission levels are GREEN, masks are recommended but not required for everyone in public areas. When CDC transmission levels are at YELLOW or ORANGE, masks are required in public areas. (At congregational events where a meal is served, when seated at a table participants may eat and drink without masks.)

ONLINE, IN-PERSON & BOTH!

In-person classes require full vaccination; see above


RABBI FALICK'S SATURDAY CLASS ("REBBE'S TISCH")

Join him for a historical look at Jewish texts throughout the ages.

Saturdays, 10AM, Zoom Only

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/759671597


UNROLLING JUDAISM WITH RABBI FALICK

A deeper look at Jewish customs, traditions, and historical events ... from ancient times to today!

Mondays, 1PM, Zoom Only

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83254131837


JEWISH HISTORY (& CURRENT EVENTS DISCUSSION)

WITH NATAN FUCHS

Sundays, 10:30AM, In-Person Only

LibrarySHJ.com


SOCRATES CAFE

Every Tuesday, 10:30AM, Zoom Only

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/182488428


MAH-JONGG

Tuesdays, 1-2:30PM, In-Person

For more information, contact Denise Parker, 248.321.9428


YOGA

Wednesdays, 9:30AMIn-Person

ZOOM REQUIRES A PASSWORD!

The password was sent under separate cover. Please contact rabbi@chj-detroit.org if you need it.


ONLINE VIDEOS OF PROGRAMS & CLASSES

Visit LibrarySHJ.com and our YouTube page for videos of past services, classes, lectures, and more!

CONGREGATION FOR HUMANISTIC JUDAISM

OF METRO DETROIT


248.477.1410 / office@chj-detroit.org


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