Thanks go out to Betsy Miller, the Adult Education committee, and Rabbi Howard Gorin for making this past Scholar Shabbat – “Blue Scroll or Red Scroll: Is Torah Liberal or Conservative?” led by Louis E. Newman.
Professor Newman presented a thought-provoking D’var Torah during services, and then led a stimulating text-based discussion after a lovely kiddish luncheon.
Newman is the John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser professor of religious studies at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. Newman is a leading scholar of Jewish ethics. His most recent book is “Repentance: the Meaning and Practice of Teshuvah” (Jewish Lights 2010). His earlier works are “Past Imperatives: Studies in the History and Theory of Jewish Ethics” and “An Introduction to Jewish Ethics.”
Profeessor Newman demonstrated that the Torah includes both Conservative/Red and Liberal/Blue perspectives and values, and challenged us to think about how we reconcile these apparent conflicts. For me, personally, I may be able to approach certain texts in the year with less anxiety, although it always seems like we are cherry-picking those values that the Torah presents that “fit” our modern understanding, and choosing to ignore those values that don’t.
Were you there? What did you think? Let’s continue the discussion…