This is a forum for the Jewish Student Union, Chaverim (Hebrew for "friends"), at Reed College. The purpose of this forum is twofold: first, to help foster a sense of Jewish community at Reed by informing people of Jewish events at Reed and in Portland; second, it is an arena for discussion on such topics as
What of the nature of G-d if we think he/she/it exists? What bearing does the answer to that question have on the way we should live? What does Torah say, and how much of it should we take literally? What of its divinity in the context of its being an anthropogenic document? What is our role as Jews in the world (in Tikkun Olam)? What should we do about the mess in the Middle East? How did it get to be such a mess to begin with?
From Rabbi Harold Kushner: "This is about life, how to understand what it means to be authentically human and how to respond to the challenge. The question is not 'How [or why] should I be Jewish?' but 'How can I be truly human?' Judaism is not the problem. Life is the problem, and Judaism is the answer. It can teach you how to find the hidden rewards of holiness in the world, and how to cope with its uncertainties and disappointments. A prominent literary critic once said, 'Being Jewish is the easiest way to be a human being.' ... "Rule One: Any time we ask a question 'What does Judaism say about...?,' the only correct answer will begin 'Some Jews believe as follows, and other Jews believe something different.' The reason for this is not just that we are a highly individualistic, independent-minded people. The main reason is that we have never found it necessary to spell out exactly what we are supposed to believe. With no precise definition of what Judaism believes, you would expect the result to be chaos and anarchy, but it's not, because Jewish identity is not centered in belief. It is centered in community and history. We tolerate great diversity of theological opinion, in part because nobody can be completely sure he or she is right about the nature of God, heaven and hell, and other theological matters, but mostly because Jews have something that binds us together beyond, and more effectively than, common belief."