Religion & Beliefs

Limmud NY: Intermarriage, Gonzo Judaism, the Hardest to Learn is the Least Complicated

(While Tamar's at Jewish learning conference Limmud, she'll be bringing us regular updates.) This morning at Limmud I went to shacharit (one of about four women at the egal service, and the only chick under forty, which again makes my … Read More

By / January 18, 2008

(While Tamar's at Jewish learning conference Limmud, she'll be bringing us regular updates.)

This morning at Limmud I went to shacharit (one of about four women at the egal service, and the only chick under forty, which again makes my blood boil) and then saw another amazing movie, “Out of Faith” about a Holocaust survivor, and her struggle to deal with her grandchildren marrying non-Jews. Weirdly, I know the grandmother and one of the grandchildren in question and much of the film was shot in the neighborhood where I grew up. It was a fascinating and gut wrenching film, and I of course got all teary at the end (deep down, I’m a total marshmellow). Definitely a must watch for anyone with survivor grandparents.

After lunch I went to Niles Goldstein’s session about “Gonzo” Judaism. I was all excited about this session, because it was billed as a look at how to return to the counter-cultural, rebel roots of Judaism, but honestly, I walked away fairly disappointed. As far as I can tell Goldstein doesn’t have much of a concrete message or instructions for people who sign on to his thinking. The one thing he told us to do was to turn Judaism back into an “open tent” religion, so that when we see new people in our community we welcome them, encourage them to participate more and feel like they’re a part of the group. I’m all for welcoming people (inviting people over for Shabbat meals is one of my favorite pastimes) but I just don’t think that’s enough. We need more than just hospitality, and Goldstein didn’t seem willing to call out specific organizations or groups that are causing problems and need to be given some punk attitude. I agree with his general ideals, but I’d like a little more specificity, I think. In addition to going to sessions I’ve done plenty of schmoozing and networking (the check-in table is the best place to pick up guys and Shabbat lunch invitations, in case you were wondering), and last night did some whiskey drinking with my friends from Yeshivat Hadar. Shabbat promises to be more of the same. Have a Shabbat shalom!