- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On January 18, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
As we embark on this Shabbat of Justice and the days to follow, we enter into the great moment of redemption of the Israelites. We relive that moment of glory when the sea opened up and the people made their way toward freedom. On the other side they sang and danced and asked “Who is like you, O God?” In our prayer service, as well, we recount the glorious moment and joyfully express our gratitude for such a moment not only from the past but for the future as well.
To look ahead, we need to ask what must we do to bring about redemption? I share two examples.
The first will occur this weekend during Torah study when we will examine the idea of implicit bias. We will look at this week’s Torah portion and other texts from our tradition to dig deeply to understand what implicit bias means and continue to reflect on it for ourselves and our community. Here is a working definition:
Thoughts and feelings are “implicit” if we are unaware of them or mistaken about their nature. We have a bias when, rather than being neutral, we have a preference for (or aversion to) a person or group of people. Thus, we use the term “implicit bias” to describe when we have attitudes towards people or associate stereotypes with them without our conscious knowledge.[i]
Another example is a course offered at the church of one of my Christian clergy colleagues. The description below speaks to a kind of truth telling about the way negative perceptions and bias have grown out of religious interpretations of sacred texts, and like our work with implicit bias, holds a light and a mirror to our own behaviors.
Christian Anti-Judaism and the New Testament: Is your theology anti-Jewish?
As recent events have demonstrated, anti-Semitic violence is on the rise both in Europe and America. Its roots can be traced to the ancient hostility of Christians towards Judaism. Although the Church began as a Jewish movement, it soon came to define the gospel in anti-Jewish terms, so that the New Testament was seen as rejecting and replacing what God had begun with Abraham. Christians began brutal persecution and slaughter of Jews in the name of Jesus. How did this happen?
In this course we will look at some of this shameful history, which still infects our theology and the way we read the Bible. I will argue that Christian anti-Judaism has blinded us as to how to interpret the Scriptures properly.
Come join our discussion as we try to move in a new direction, reading the Bible and articulating the gospel in ways that honor the Jewishness of Jesus and God’s unbreakable covenant with Israel.
So, when does redemption come? It starts with the seed of recognition and accountability and grows through learning, introspection, and self-assessment and then blossoms into the ability we all possess to be transformed by what we can come to understand through intention and insight.
Tonight join us at 6:00 p.m. for an inspirational Shabbat Tzedek, a Sabbath of Justice, to celebrate the values and life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We warmly welcome Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley as our 2019 Shabbat Tzedek speaker. If you cannot join us, please live stream here.
Tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. all are welcome to engage in Torah Study, with a focus on implicit bias, led by the Temple Israel Clergy.
Sunday, January 20th the service at Bethel AME Church timing is TBD due to the impending snow storm, please see Bethel AME for details.
I appreciate your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly here.