The semester here at Drew begins today. I have one class today at 1:15, Human Evolution. If I have to answer one more damn question from someone who assumes that because I am religious, I will be unable to tolerate this class, I will shit on them.
In my absence from this blog, I’ve been travelling a bit. I went to Limmud NY, an absolutely amazing four-day weekend of pluralistic Jewish learning. Where I once felt solidly Reform and believed totally that terms like “pluralism” and “non/post/trans-denominational” were nonsense, I now see that they are likely the future of Judaism in America. I attended several amazing sessions at Limmud on liturgy, some of which totally blew my top off.
As evidenced by the blog’s new name, my resolve for Reform belief and ideology was perhaps strengthened over the course of the weekend, but my resolve for the Reform movement’s official bodies (HUC, URJ, NFTY, etc.) were weakened.
If I hate the new Reform sidur, but a sidur put together by Chavurah types (Siddur Eit Ratzon) peaks my interest weekly, what does that mean? If I haven’t been to a Reform synagogue in years that did anything for me spiritually during services, but I go weekly to an indie Chavurah that does everything for me, what does that mean? If the URJ Biennial I went to in Houston in 2005 sucked, but Limmud was fantastic, what does that mean? If I am to continue calling myself Reform, but disliking all of the connotations that word brings with, separating myself from communities that share my label of Reform, what does that mean? Do I cut and run, or do I stay and try to affect change? And what right would I even have to make those changes if nobody else seems to want them?
And goals have changed. Until Limmud, I was unaware of that fact that one could get graduate and post-graduate degrees in liturgy. I think that’s where I’m headed.
In sidur news, I have two new sidurim. One, Or Hadash, is Reuven Hammer’s excellent commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom. The other, Siddur Young Judea, is a rather decrepit edition of the sidur used at Camp Tel Yehudah, was given to me by Matt Reber, whose apartment I stayed at in Brooklyn for a couple of days last week. Next on my list is a sidur created by a Sephardic congregation in Seattle with Hebrew, English, and Ladino called Siddur Zehut Yosef. I have also re-(but not totally)reversed my view on Miryam’s place (or lack thereof) in Mi Chamochah. Limmud gave me so much food for thought that I’m currently deep into Draft Six of Sidur Eilu D’vareinu: The Limmud Aftermath Edition.