Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Struggling with a book...

I finished reading _Every Person's Guide to Judaism_ and honestly, it was a bit glossy for me. I wanted something a little deeper--something that got into the overall theology... and in one of those coincidences of the electronic age, I got an email from the library listing new additions to their religion section.

And so I picked up Judaism: A Way of Being by David Hillel Gelernter. The email blurb had sounded PERFECT -- four thematic images that tie it all together, plus the Jewish answers to some of life's biggest questions...and while written for the searching Jew, it would be interesting to all students of religion.

Well, first of all, it appears that I'm not ENOUGH of a student of religion yet - he had references to the Torah and Talmud that were WAY beyond me - I did some side research as best I could.

Gelernter's also Modern Orthodox, or as he prefers, Normative. He is pretty darned certain that people stepping outside of traditional gender roles will destroy civilization....what? I had to put the book down a few times - he may call it "perfect asymmetry", but claiming that a woman (or homosexual man) is "fundamentally unfit" for the bimah? I don't buy your arguments, sir. Especially the misunderstanding of Shakespeare writing his female roles for female actors...

There was much in the book that was fascinating and some was even inspiring. It led me to more deeply consider the Abraham-Hashem relationship, to the point where I'm scripting not only their conversation, but Abraham's explanation to Sarah when Isaac spills the beans on Camping with Dad...

(I am doing a bunch of reading towards the credentialing process for Unitarian Universalist religious educators - if you'd like to know what that list looks like, check out )

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