Saturday, May 31, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This is one of those stories you just have to comment on. I found it at news.yahoo.com, but it will fall off their servers in a couple of weeks. I printed it to an image and attached it to this posting.
I've always been a bit fascinated by Einstein and his stance on religion. There was so much room for contradiction.
You have a man who was incredibly logical and yet very imaginative. He was raised a Jew, but lived during a time where even God himself seemed to forget about the covenant. It's sometimes hard for people now to figure out how to keep their faith in the face of scientific discoveries. It must have been even harder when that struggle was compounded by the Shoah.
I wouldn't blame Einstein a bit for thinking that belief in God is childish. It certainly must have seemed futile in his mind, given the events of his time.
Even though certain Einstein quotes about religion (especially "science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind") have
been cited as proof that a man of faith can also be a man of science, this new information says Einstein wasn't an example of that phenomenon. And that's a fine thing.
Einstein was, after all, only a man. He left us an amazing legacy: the theory of relativity, as well as a face to the very personal struggle between faith and reason.
I still find the quotes inspirational. They aren't an answer; they are more of a trailhead for your own journey toward truth and understanding. You can agree or disagree with his statements, use them to raise your own questions, and ultimately, come to your own conclusions, just as Einstein did.
Previously, people would bolster their arguments with something along the lines of, "Science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life." That might still be valid, but Einstein would probably end it with this: "I am by heritage a Jew, by citizenship a Swiss, and by makeup a human being, and only a human being, without any special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever."
As I read through Einstein quotes to choose a few for this article, I realized that my favorites have nothing to do with religion or science. They are merely observations about life:
"Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do — but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it."
"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution."
I ordered some shabbat candlesticks. They're travel-sized, so they're easy to put away.
I bought a kiddush cup that sort-of matches them.
I also bought a havdalah set. I think it's really clever. It was designed for travel, I guess, so it all fits together into one unit for simple storage when it's not in use. But the most clever thing, I think, is that it doubles as a shabbat set. The spice box, when flipped over, holds two candles.
It will be nice to celebrate properly, with hiddur mitzvah, rather than just making do. I know that my Judaica won't be the most beautiful in the world, but it's a start. The milestone is that they are mine now, that I'm finally taking ownership of shabbat.
A bunch of books are also headed my way. The first of them arrived today, my books on learning Hebrew. I also ordered a couple books on Judaism and environmental stewardship, as well as siddurim for both the Reform and Conservative movements. I'm really excited about studying and learning these things. I can't wait until I don't have to flip through the prayerbook to find the transliteration!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I probably could have just said that I had an appointment, but I asked for a religious accommodation instead.
I've been studying for about six months now, and it feels like time to finally stop being between religions.
I recognize that I don't know enough yet. I've finally gotten though all the major holidays, so now I'm in charge of my curriculum. My rabbi and I have decided that it would be good for me to learn Hebrew, at least at a prayerbook level, and study the liturgy. I want to understand the prayers that we say during the services and have them mean something to me while I say them. After I get though that, we'll move on to the connection between Judaism and the natural world and tikkun olam.