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Friday, May 14, 12-1
We began last week’s discussion of the remainder of Chapter 10 of Dancing in God’s Earthquake by considering Waskow’s call for ”civic competence” including training in the practice of non-violent resistance to illegitimate uses of power. We discussed several of his suggestions that involved less rote recitation of ancient liturgy and more public acts that implemented religious values (e.g., during the Passover festival of Jewish liberation, we could write letters on behalf of those who are inappropriately incarcerated; at Chanukkah’s Festival of Lights, we could examine ways of providing heat and light to families who cannot afford such utilities).
Moving on to Chapter 11, and Waskow’s exploration of Biblical genocides, we discussed some of the forms of passive resistance to Pharaoh’s efforts to exterminate the Israelites. Noting how we are all affected by the sins of the powerful and we are responsible for preventing them, Waskow went on to note that the Torah responds differently to genocides perpetrated against the Jews as opposed to genocides carried out by Jews. We discussed incidents in the Book of Numbers where God commanded Moses to essentially wipe out the Midianites because of the threats they posed to Jewish forms of worship and practice (presumably Midianite women were sexually and spiritually seducing Israelite men). Moses carries out this request for what might now be called ”ethnic cleansing.” We concluded our session at the point that Waskow asked his modern readers ”What are we to do with such a story that appears in our sacred text?”
This week, we’ll conclude our discussion of Chapter 11 with a look at some of the lessons Waskow says he learned when he connected the passages about the Midianite genocide in light of the claims made by some African-American groups that the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians amounted to a form of genocide. We will also consider Waskow’s Coda (pp. 182-192). If time permits, we will begin a more general discussion of the Jewish Renewal Movement with which Arthur Waskow is associated. Those discussions which will continue for the next few weeks will be based, in part, on information contained on the following links
Our informal discussion group is held online every Friday from 12-1. All are welcome to join us, regardless of their level of expertise or attendance at previous noon study group discussions. If you have questions, or would like the Zoom link, please contact Jay Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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