Let’s rethink the assumptions of religion, taking seriously what we learn about the world from science (including relativity theory, quantum, cognitive neurology, evolution) and bring that back to a biblical/rabbinic understanding of how God and world create meaning through dynamic relationship and self-determined choice.
Two letters from Rabbi Artson’s grandmothers, one written in 1972 and the second in 1983, highlight the ways that memory allows the past to live in the present. Rabbi Artson reflects on how people live in deeds, not in time, that our mammalian brains are literally shaped by our experiences so that our loved ones live in us. One of Judaism’s great gifts is crafting moments to visit our memories and gain strength from them.
Rabbi Artson’s inviting Yom Kippur address: we are always changing, never the same as we were previously. That is true for individuals, for communities and for nations. The core Jewish teaching of teshuvah gemura, of complete repentance is predicated on an open future that does not have to follow a slavish script. We can choose a worthy tomorrow by making better choices today! We can risk novelty and blossom in goodness!
Read literally, the Bible can be a terrible book: a bullying patriarchal God who justifies slavery, rape, the marginalization of women and people with special needs. Shouldn’t we just close the Book of Books and run away? Rabbi Artson shows a better way: armed with a vision of justice, love, and peace, the Bible becomes the world’s most powerful tool for the dignity of all people, for living harmoniously with our planet, and for a vision of universal peace. We just need to learn to read it right!
Rabbi Artson opens worlds of science and Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), narrating the dramatic story of the birth of our cosmos (the way science understands it and the way Kabbalah intuits it) and the privilege we grasp when we participate in its becoming, for good!