My involvement with the Reform Jewish community of Madrid was a main part of my Fulbright experience - a main part of my living in Spain. And so when I got back, I missed them a lot and I was talking to Yael one day and had been thinking like, how do I stay connected to this community?
As a deep and serious thinker, Andrew Lustig opined about his ideological role models: “the people who I admire and I considered teachers are people who are always complicating issues, who are always answering with ‘well, you know, it's complicated’ or you know, ‘on one hand, but on the other hand.’ Taking those serious questions as his foundation, he uses that as fodder for creating real and imaginative works of poetry.
Not only does the long-view, slow and steady marathon-style perspective serve the process of creativity in general and for writing poetry more specifically, but even more so, it aids in the ability to stay committed to a 7.5 year long text study where you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Out with the old expression of “practice makes perfect” and in with the new of “practice makes better.”
We began our conversation with a bit of myth-busting. When some imagine communities in Africa it is easy to envision a dusty village by the side of the road. Rabbi Elie talked about the diversity in the many global Jewish communities. Some are, indeed, subsistence farmers while others work in the medical field and are very much connected to the broader world through more traditional avenues.
Bluth is currently studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Har El, a co-ed Orthodox Rabbinical program in Jerusalem. She is the Founder and Educational Director of Achvat Amim Ruchani, a program for Israeli-Palestinian peace and justice volunteer work, focused on Jewish learning. Born in Toronto to two amateur Klezmorim, Bluth lives in a plant-filled home in Yafo.
Working in the school system, and conducting suicide risk assessments almost once every other week, Dr Natalya Bogopolskaya was interested in better understanding what protective factors communities can help build in its members to better cope with stressors, mental health illnesses, and traumatic events as well as what kind of negative life events people are truly wired to handle.
There have been some days where my faith has been so shaken that I couldn’t leave my house till I figured out whether or not I would continue being spiritual/religious. There have been days where I’ve been so discouraged by my lack of emotional vulnerability in my prayers that I’ve thought why bother doing this if it isn’t even a space where I can discover my soul.
But with all of these challenges I am so thankful that I have never quit. I have always maintained the belief that even though today is hard, who knows…
In this week’s 929 weekly roundup I focus on Leviticus chapters 11 and 15.
Leviticus 11 talks about Kosher food laws. So I reflect on what the origins of those food laws were. Is it all really just about a lack of refrigerators in biblical times or is it about child sacrifice (see below)? Honestly, nobody knows. But the ways in which Jews are relating to how we our eat is changing nowadays with regards to the “why” behind our food choices.