A Reform, a Conservative, an Orthodox and a Pluralistic Rabbi walked into a room. This may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but it actually happened here at Mirowitz last night. And it was the start of a deep and heartfelt conversation that has been left unspoken in St. Louis and around the country for too many years.
During the course of a panel discussion, Rabbi Hyim Shafner reminded us that when we have a conversation with someone who holds an opposing viewpoint, it helps us to see ourselves in their shoes. Indeed, our students have been doing that for years, and last night, we had a taste of their amazing childhood experience. (Watch Part 1 and Part 2.)
The rabbis shared their deep-seated beliefs about what Judaism demands of us. (Watch here.) They shared their vulnerabilities and moments when they have felt out of place within a Jewish community. (Watch here.)
The conversation was facilitated by Dr. Michael Kay, a leading expert on Jewish pluralism in schools. Dr. Kay shared research that asks the question, “Does raising children with Jewish diversity harm their Jewish identity?” The surprising conclusion of the research is that growing up in a pluralistic setting strengthens Jewish identity. The way your children are growing up, in an intentionally pluralistic community, is helping them grow confident about their own Jewish perspectives. They can hold fast to their own beliefs, and learn about, dialogue with, and respect the beliefs of others.
May your Shabbat be filled with heartfelt, sensitive conversation about what defines your Judaism. May you share and listen with open hearts, just as our rabbis did here last night.
Thank you to Rabbis Susan Talve, Carnie Rose, Hyim Shafner, Scott Slarskey, Levi Landa, Amy Feder, Brad Horwitz, Noah Arnow, Micah Buck-Yael, Andrea Goldstein and Maharat Rori Picker-Neiss for your leadership and wisdom!