Monday, August 09, 2010

How do we find the narrative when we don't even know it?

I just responded to a question by Ariel Beery from PresenTense about the Jewish narrative and the need to find one. He references an article by Seth Cohen in relation to philanthropy

What does this mean? Cohen still is looking at the Jewish narrative as one that is needed to obtain wealth. He wants to inspire donors for causes. He is thinking about monetization as the goal of the narrative. This is wrongheaded thinking and leads to the already rigid thinking of our so-called Jewish leaders. That is why diaspora Jews are so turned off to the Judaism presented to them in their communities and that is why their view of Israel is only as a tribal nation that only cares about itself.

The Jewish narrative is already super compelling. The need is to extend it to include the world in positive interaction. We need to do two things that are counter-intuitive. We need to both include others in our story of liberation from Egypt/the Mitzrayim of slavery to authority/extremism and we need to maintain a security, pride, and celebration in living Judaism and Jewish culture through our historical experience. We need to both reach out and in and reject tribalism which is another way of creating a self-imposed ghetto. We have lived as outsiders to the world and that knowledge is very powerful. It is a paradox that we need to maintain and it is there that we find our creative dimension.

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