A large "thank you" to Elliot Gershenson who spoke at Ordinary Life this last Sunday. Elliot provided humorous insight into Jewish practice, tradition, and history as well as his own heartfelt experience of what it means to live and be Jewish. Elliot titled his talk
Judaism: It's what makes me me
Elliot began by describing the life of an observant Jew. Living is about applying the laws that have come down through history to this present day in a way that provides daily guidance for the individual as he/she deals with the dilemmas and decisions that each of us deals with on a daily basis.
Essential elements of this practice include loving acts of kindness, recognition that your acts affect others, and therefore consciousness is required in interactions with others... even 'window shopping' is something to be avoided because historically, stopping and looking at goods in a stall gave hope to the shopkeeper when you had no intention of buying... stealing their hope.
Elliot described the three main branches of Judaism... Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform and noted that as with Christianity and Islam, there is both a rightward and leftward movement... people striving towards a more liberal understanding of Judaism, and those who wish to retain/revert to more traditional interpretations. Central to all branches is the idea of being part of a people, of being part of the land and living a collective existence under one God.
In concluding remarks, Elliot had two things to say, first that he celebrates and reveres the Jewish Sabbath ("I look forward to my one day of vacation every week"), and second, to note that in the Jewish faith a Messiah would not arbitrarily appear to male things "better"; rather, the Messiah will return to earth if we can actually "do love", for even one minute... stop the violence, stop the inequality... One Minute of Love... all over the world, and God returns.
Elliot spoke without notes; hence there is no prepared text available. However, an outline of his talk can be found here, and the full audio of his presentation is available at the link below..
Our next speaker at Ordinary Life, this Sunday, July 31, will be the Rev. Tommy Williams. Senior Pastor at St. Paul's. I hope you will come visit this Sunday.
Once again, I close with the words of Bill... Be well and much love. See you next week.