I would like to thank Karen and Pat McClure for hosting our first Rosh Chodesh Havdalah Will Travel last evening. For me and Barbara it was the conclusion to a beautiful Shabbat with friends, new and long acquainted! The "coffee-and" was superb thanks to all who made the event delicious in the CISA tradition (cookbook on the way?)
I believe that our tradition encourages an investigation into faith and its component, belief in God. Our rabbis have parsed new meanings to their expression for ages. Hence, our class. Whether we believe or are faithful to the literal scripture texts or come to belief through the extraordinary experiences we are gifted in life, faith is a component to healthy living and an answer to these disturbing times. Our class will present the case for faith; we have each of us, many divergent views culled from our lives and the ways we have experienced expressions of faith through organized religion of many "brands." We are challenged by the charges of new atheism and horrified by the cruelty of a brand of fanatical faith that breeds terrorism and intolerance. What can we believe?
Our choices may not be an absence of God or the over-zealous embrace of God. David Wolpe penned "Every day we see and hear individuals trying to make sense of their lives, seeking the comfort of community and an assurance of God's love." Underneath the explorations of science, history lies the ultimate questions of wonder and anguish; can we believe we live in the presence of Hashem? In many discussions on faith, when questioned one may say "it is a matter of faith--I believe it." The discussion ends. We want to continued the dialogue.
Our class will explore faith, not necessarily as ritual in practice, but an eternal assurance of worthiness. Our two books Why Faith Matters by Rabbi David Wolpe and Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom will be partnered with the Torah scipture. Two friends coming at the ultimate question, motivated by a faith --in something greater than themselves or the lives they describe. Both are available in Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com or the public library.
We sensed last Saturday the palpable differences in our group, elegantly presented. Let's bring them to the table each month. We are taught in CPE to leave each "session" with the assurance that all that has been said is not directed at the person next to whom we are seated, but only at the issue before us. With that assurance, we can agree to disagree, agreeeably. And have faith.
Looking forward to Saturday evening, Februiary 20 at 7 p.m., location to be determined. Havdalah Will Travel. It will spice up your week!
Congregation Israel of San Antonio