Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jewish Reconnection Project - Intro

I was once sitting in a meeting with my Rav, HaRav Mordechai Elon Shli"ta, and we started speaking about different organizations working together for the purpose of Jewish Education. We spoke about the problems which arise when you work with an organization which disagrees on key issues with you: be it a non-zionist orthodox organization, or a secular zionist organization. His answer (which he had said many other times in yeshiva) was clear: Communication between Jews is ALWAYS good! This is the first premise.
So what about our disagreements? Rav Elon said that we should never budge from our positions. Always say what we think and believe and when we disagree with the people we work with, there is no problem in making clear what our position is. However, that being said, why should that stop us from working on what we have in common?
If me and Chabad both provide programming for Jewish Students, why not make an event? Is their Non-Zionism a good enough reason? What does Channukah Candle Lighting for students have to do with being Zionist or not ? I think this perspective is a very clear one: We believe what we believe. We believe it strongly. But we are willing to listen. We are willing to talk with people who disagree with us. We are willing to discuss, argue, disagree etc... This should be even more true when "the other" is our Jewish Brother.

The truth is: History has shown us that anyone who needs to censor someone else is not holding the truth. If you need to censor someone else, it means your truth cannot stand against their arguments.

There is a new Project online which I think bases itself on this perspective.

5 young Jews from New York speak to 4 young Jews in Jerusalem. Some are from the Left, others from the right. Some are Orthodox, others go to "temple". Some are Religious, Others are secular. Yet, they communicate. They talk! No one is trying to convince anyone. Each of them are just giving their own perspectives.

I plan on starting a series over here where I will take each episode which is about 3 minutes long and comment on it. My comment will sometimes be analyzing their opinions on the issue, sometimes giving my own opinion, sometimes just expressing the feelings I got when watching the episodes. I encourage everyone to posts comments with their own opinions, their own comments and their own thoughts. If we learn to communicate, we will learn to be united. True Unity is not Uniformity. True Unity is only possible when we recognize that our peers are different, and yet respect their difference. Even the lowest level of respect includes an open ear, a willingness to listen. Let's prepare the building blocks of our national unity.


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