November 15 – Zahav & Pre-Mitzvah (4/5)

In today’s class we discussed what it means to be a Humanistic Jew. We discussed the different sects of Judaism including: reformed, conservative, orthodox, & chassidic. Each sect was defined and the differences & similarities were reviewed. We focused on the principals Humanists affirm. Including the following:

  • Human beings possess the power and responsibility to shape their own lives independent of supernatural authority.
  • A Jew is a person who identifies with the history, culture, and future of the Jewish people.
  • Judaism is the historic culture of the Jewish people.
  • Jewish history is a human saga, a testament to the significance of human power and responsibility.
  • Jewish identity is best preserved in a free, pluralistic environment.
  • Ethics and morality should serve human needs.
  • The freedom and dignity of the Jewish people must go hand in hand with the freedom and dignity of every human being.

Those principals lead us to our next focus, the concept of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. We listened to the story of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. In the story as a little girl Alice is inspired by her father to do 3 things: Travel the World, Live by the Sea and Leave the World a Better Place. She does that by planting lupine seeds wherever she goes. This helps the ecosystem and makes the landscape pretty. It also self propagates so metaphorically is shows how good deeds spread on their own.

Our next class is next week. See everyone then.

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