Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Acting like God

SO...just when I think I've decided that Reform Judaism is for me (or at least something I can live with) and that I should stay where I am, I get an e-mail from The Little Jewess's Hebrew School teacher saying that she's teaching the children that we do good deeds to emulate God.

I think that is a stupid thing to teach. First of all, I don't want The Little Jewess to act like the God of the Hebrew Scriptures. He's got really bad manners, he's jealous, he throws tantrums and he's a bully. Second, if you tell kids that the reason they should be good is to emulate God, what happens if they stop believing? And where is the room for thought and questioning?

So I checked in with the Rabbi and she said this is definitely the new direction of Reform Judaism. She said one of her goals is "to help Jews find the language for their spirituality." I'm OK with spirituality, but I'm not at all comfortable with this kind of God talk. I don't think I'd have been comfortable with it when I believed in God (or thought I did) but that doesn't really matter because I know I don't believe in God now and that's my Little Jewess in that classroom.

And Mr. Jewess isn't happy about it either.

The search goes on...

1 comment:

  1. Maimonedes would roll in his grave! Finding language for spirituality does not mean anthropomorphising the divine.

    I think this particular instance is actually best confronted from a traditionally theistic Jewish standpoint. We don't do good deeds to emulate God. We do good deeds to bring justice to the world. Christians may do good deeds to emulate Jesus, that's different. As Jews, our theology does not have a model of the perfect human being to emulate. Instead,our tradition teaches that each of us should try to live up to what is best in ourselves.