Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Is Reform the answer?

The author of Midlife Bat Mitzvah (if you haven't read her excellent blog, I have added a link to the list at the right) suggests that Reform is a big enough tent for me and my atheism. She might be right. Certainly my Rabbi has no problem with it, and she, like MBM, sees God as an abstract presence and not literally God. My Rabbi does not, however, identify as an atheist.

I have not spoken to the Cantor at length about this, but from her public words, she seems to firmly believe in the existence of God. I could be wrong, of course. These things are deeply personal and not easily talked about. I am not in a leadership position and yet I am protecting my anonymity here so as not to raise issues in my Temple. At this point that has more to do with the fact that I'm considering other congregations than my atheism itself, but as I have said, I do worry about what will happen if and when I come out.

I think the issue has more to do with consistency. Why should I stand in Temple and say what I do not mean? And what message does that send to The Little Jewess? As her title implies, MBM came to this exploration a bit later in life than I did, and her daughter was older at the time. Religious School was not so much an issue when MBM began blogging.

I have not ruled out the Reform Movement or even our current congregation. Perhaps I can get involved with a group that studies the liturgy and writes its own service. That kind of thing might be what I'm looking for--a chance to think more deeply and a way to experience my own more liberal form of Judaism. At present, I don't know of any plans to do such a service, but I remember my mother participating, years ago, in writing a feminist service at our Reform congregation. I might suggest it to the Rabbi to see what she thinks.

So thank you, Midlife Bat Mitzvah, for reading and commenting. As long as I maintain my connection to the Reform Movement I might as well take what opportunities I can for exploring the options within it.

And now it's late, and Richard Dawkins awaits...

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