Thursday, February 24, 2011
The consensus around the table was that everyone has a set of morals and values that represent who they are, but that there are many things about us that change as we grow and learn about all the opportunities we have in this world and the choices we have to become who we want to be.
I have to honestly say (and I know it's going to sound like a plug for Hillel, but) that Hillel, in the few short months that I have been working here and taking part in all the amazing events has really helped me open my eyes to who I am, as a person and more importantly as a Jew. Growing up, I was in a community that was not largely Jewish leaving me with a lot of questions from other people and of my own about what it means to be Jewish. Being at Hillel allows me to ask my questions and formulate my own ideas about what it means to me...
Shabbat every week has introduced me to so many amazing people that I would have never met if it weren't for Hillel. Torah on Tap allows me to have intellectual discussion about Torah that I may not have ever had. Camping Shabbat opened my eyes to the real meaning of Shabbat. I was actually able to really take time and reflect on the week behind me and the week ahead while only surrounded by a campfire, acoustic music and some other amazing Jewish students. There were no distractions at all..no traffic, no lights, only the music, our prayers and our reflection.
So I guess I don't really have an answer for "who I am." I'm a Jewish student that loves to help people. I love to learn new things and I love going on adventures. That doesn't really describe "who I am," but it does tell me how I am going to continue to figure out who I am. How do you identify yourself? What makes you YOU? It's really important to think about. I hope that you will reply or at least take a moment to think about it, really think about it.
Like Rabbi Daniel said, turn off the auto-pilot. Embrace the chances you have to make choices and change how you do things that can overall make your life better.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
This post was written by Rabbi Daniel Wolnerman, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, February 21, 2011
As Purim is coming up, how does this apply to wearing a costume and hiding our true selves? Express how you connect with this issue by doing 3-D Modge Podge Collages. If you don't know what Modge Podge is, come find out and bring friends! We will provide all of the needed materials. Art for the Jewish Heart is a "safe place," there are no right or wrong answers, just come out and express
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This is part of why I Relay.
SO here's my shpiel: Relay for Life at UF is an 18-hour event, through the American Cancer Society, designed to raise money for cancer research and awareness. It brings together students from all over the UF community to fight for a common cause. It's also an amazingly fun event that provides activities and entertainment every half hour. The theme for this year is Road Tripping for a Cure: Driving out Cancer.
What could be better than spending 18 hours with all of your closest friends?
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
What a week this was!
It started with a post Jeff wrote on Pluralism that I read at 4am last Sunday, and which kept me awake until I could write a thoughtful response. Rabbi Daniel posted his own perspective on Pluralism later in the week and we discussed all of these ideas with our students on Torah on Tap, during our Shabbat dinner conversations and during Shabbat lunch.
As we celebrated Havdalah last night, marking the end of Shabbat (and of the week in which all of these happened) and the beginning of a new week, I mentioned that a traditional Havdalah candle needs at least two wicks that interconnect at the end, producing a much stronger flame than each wick would create separately. One big wick is not good - we need several wicks (even if they are smaller) that come together to produce the strong flame. It honors the value of each part separately while also acknowledging the greater result that can be obtained when these separate parts are put together. Like Shabbat and the rest of the week. Like all of our different opinions, and the way they shed light upon and strengthen each other.
Marcia Falk, a Jewish American poet wrote a version for the Havdalah blessing that speaks to me in a very personal and profound way. It presents the distinctions we celebrate at Havdalah in a non-hierarchical way, honoring the different parts of the week and the way they contribute to a richer Jewish experience of time. In my mind, a perfect expression of how I would like to see UF Hillel celebrating Pluralism....
As we start a new week, may her words serve as inspiration for us as we learn from, challenge and grow with each other.
Distinctions (Marcia Falk)
Let us distinguish parts within the whole
and bless their differences.
Like the Sabbath and the six days of creation,
may our lives be made whole through relation.
As rest makes the Sabbat precious,
may our work give meaning to the week.
Let us separate the Sabbath
from other days of the week,
seeking holiness in each.
נַבְחִין בֵּין חֶלְקֵי הַשָׁלֵם
וְעַל הַהֶבְדֵּלִים נְבָרֵךְ.
נַבְדִיל בֵּין יוֹם הַשְׁבִיעִי
לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה,
וּקְדֻשָׁה בְּכָל יוֹם נְבַקֵּשׁ.
See you in two weeks!
Friday, February 11, 2011
*not in correct order*
Touch of Grey
New Minglewood Blues
All Around This World (Old and in the Way tune)
Friend of the Devil
I Know You Rider
Pig in a Pen (Another Old and in the Way tune)
It's going to be a blast, bring your instruments, shakers, drums, maracas, whatever!
Annnnd, here's the new logo.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I’m not so sure the definition of pluralism found on Wikipedia is a great definition. The problem with the idea that pluralism “recognizes that some level of truth and value exists in other religions” is that this opens to the door to saying everything is true. Could this possibly be? How could, for example, the Jews, Christians, and Muslims all be espousing truth, considering each group says the other two are *wrong*???
Rogerio brought a number of proofs to the idea that Judaism very much embraces pluralism. Let me state explicitly: I agree that Judaism embraces pluralism – the only question is: where do we draw the line? I ask that question because I think we all agree that a line needs to be drawn somewhere. For example, if we changed some things in Judaism to incorporate Jesus into our Jewish daily living – i.e. erected large crosses at the front of the synagogue, changed the words in the prayer book from baruch atah Adonai to baruch atah Jesus, and started sending Birthright trips to the Vatican instead of Israel, would that still be considered Judaism? Does that fit within our understanding of pluralism? I venture to say it does not. Clearly I am using an extreme example, the point is simply that everybody draws the line somewhere. I am not here to tell people where to draw the line, but simply to encourage people to think about how and where these lines should be drawn. Another example. This past weekend many people observed a national American holiday: Superbowl Sunday. Let’s take the game of football and make some changes…let’s say we lengthen the field from 100 yards to 150 yards and give the teams five downs instead of four. Is that game still called football? Maybe. What if we replaced the field with ice and required the players to wear ice skates. Still football? What if we added a rule that a team could score an extra four points by throwing the ball through the goal post. Still football? Again, I imagine we all draw the line somewhere. At some point the game is no longer called football because it no longer is football.
Rogerio claims that (and this is a direct quote): “What Jewish pluralism, at its most elementary level, does ask from our students (and from us as part of the Hillel staff) is to recognize that Jewish choices very different from their/our own are also legitimately Jewish and belong in our building” (I added the bold)
The question is: what is True? Is Judaism another humanly fabricated religion, or are we, the Jews, the descendents of those who stood at Mt. Sinai and received an unbelievable gift called Torah – the instruction manual and how-to guide for getting the most pleasure out of life?
Where do we draw the line?