Our liturgy this month centered us in the space where we dwell – balanced between Jewish liturgical history and our lives today in our cities in North America. We moved between the moment when Jewish prayer switches to beseeching the rains to come and the arrival of autumn.
For Torah study we examined some of the source texts for the version of the creation story contained in Torah, then posed this question: what if we re-imagined Jewish history not as either “chosen people” or “inventors of monotheism” or “eternal victims” but as a tribe of travelers and gatherers, who have always moved between cultures and borrowed and incorporated and learned from and created with, our magic the ability to somehow always make the result feel “Jewish.” Our conversation took on questions of appropriation vs. learning from, how to think about what kinds of traveling and boundary dwelling were chosen vs. imposed. Of course there is no one answer to such a question, but there is power in our ongoing conversation – we’re not Jews who pray together because we opposed Israeli government and military policy. We’re a group of Jews who want a Judaism that does not support empire, or white supremacy, or the very idea that safety comes through violence and power-over. Our goal isn’t to change Israeli policy – our goal is change Judaism, to pull from our ten thousand Jewish stories a new future.