On Saturday, I participated in a discussion about the weekly Torah portion. The elaborate nature of the high priest’s vestments became a touch point for how we outwardly symbolize our Jewish identity, how much of that is traditional (and traditional to exactly when?) vs. a reflection of the culture in which we are contextualized, and how much of that in turn is a form of assimilation. It was a fascinating and engaging conversation. At the end, however, I voiced a caution: Let’s be careful not to judge others based on their outward symbols of Jewish identity that differ from our own. It will tear us apart. I’ve seen too many situations in which infighting ensued from focusing on others’ “vestments” of their Judaism rather than on the positives we can learn from and bring to each other. If we bring our principles of civil discourse to the forefront, we can seek to learn from each other and find common ground.
Are you interested in bringing civil discourse to our political, religious, cultural and community organizations so we can learn and build together? If so, please see what we are doing at The Bernard Wolfman Civil Discourse Project, which I established to honor my father’s legacy.
Here’s where to click: