The Tribe as a Means for Judaism….

Judaism is about the wisdom and practice to help human beings become deeply human. And it is not, for me, an idealogous, tribalist, experience. The tribe is a means, the people is a means, and, although I understand and I walked away from synagogue life to work inside, strengthening the Jewish people, exclusively, at a moment in which I thought that the fundamental issue was to strengthen the Jewish people, to rescue a million Jews from the Soviet Union, to rescue 60,000-100,000 Jews from Ethiopia, to build the political infrastructure, and to help build the political structure of American Jewish life so that the body politic could be protected in a physical way. So I got that.
But I never imagined that was an ends. I cannot believe that, basically, we’re down to and American organized Jewish community that, at the core, worries simply about its security and survival. And it has taken that anxiety and projected it upon issues of identity. I’m mind-bogglingly blown away that that is what has happened to a 3,000-year-old wisdom tradition that has been knocking around the planet that has been asking and moving around fundamental human questions. I just cannot believe it.

Rabbi Irwin Kula, “Texts Without Borders”, Rabbis Without Borders Fellowship, Third Cohort, Session #1 (Clal: New York City, 8 November 2011).

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