[JOI Word of Torah] Big Tent Judaism: Noah
Kerry M. Olitzky
kolitzky at joi.org
Mon Oct 8 19:21:20 GMT 2007
"Big Tent Judaism" Word of Torah
October 13, 2007 / 1 Cheshvan, 5768
"Noah was a righteous man in his generation" (Gen. 6:9). So says the text.
And the Rabbis debate whether Noah would have been considered righteous in
other generations as well, or was his accolade reserved for the tumultuous
generation in which he lived. I wonder how Noah would react to the notion of
an inclusive Jewish community. Would his righteousness shine forth or would
it be eclipsed by those who would rather that the community limit itself to
the minority who would cling to its core?
What seems most relevant is that he spoke from the midst of his generation.
He did not claim to speak for any time but his own. He could only deal with
the situation of humanity as he experienced it, not in the way he wished it
Such is the case with those of us who seek to create a more inclusive Jewish
community, one that is welcoming of those on the periphery. We do not speak
from the midst of the shtetl of our grandparents nor from the immigrant
neighborhoods of our parents. Rather we look boldly at the current Jewish
community-for this is our generation-and respond.
Noah emerged from the flood in order to recreate the world. We must do the
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is the author of many inspiring books that bring the
Jewish wisdom tradition into everyday life, and is most recently the
co-author of 20 Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren to Do
(And Not Do) to Nurture Jewish Identity in Their Grandchildren and Jewish
Holidays: A Brief Introduction for Christians.
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You are welcome to use these ideas in your own work and writings as long as
you would be so kind as to credit Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and the Jewish
Outreach Institute, thank you.
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