Religions as LOs LO7431

Judith Weiss (
Wed, 15 May 1996 02:06:59 -0500

Replying to LO7415 --

Jack Hirschfeld wrote:

>Thanks for this intro, Judith. I'm not so sure about characterizing
>Judaism as a learning organization, but I believe I understand where you
>are coming from. I'm responding mainly to say thanks, and to point you to
>an article on Shabbat in the current issue of Tikkun, which I think you
>will enjoy.

Yes, I saw the Tikkun articles. They articulated vague ruminations I was
already having. Something IS in the air.

I think any group that thrives as it grows and changes in response to
environmental conditions is a LO. This would include most world religions,
which are currently full of ferment and questioning and examination of
traditional practices.

Most of the ferment has been instigated by three factors, near as I can
see: feminism, technology, and cross-cultural fertilization. Examples of
women's newly heightened consciousness around the world challenging
established religious traditions are numerous, not to mention the
resurrection/invention of Wicca/Goddess Worship. The impact of medical
technology on the definition of birth and death has forced religions to
examine their own definitions. Cultural clashes: A very large percentage
(I think over half) of American Buddhists are Jews. The fatwa against
Salman Rushdie, a multi-cultural person if ever there was one. Black
American Islam. Japanese Christianity. American Techno-Paganism.

All of these religions are internally discussing, disagreeing, resisting,
adapting. (The jury is still out on what any of them will look like in 10
years, or how many daughter religions they will have splintered into.)

Michael Erickson wrote:

>For myself, the best "think time" is when I'm alone late at night, after
>everything in the house quiets down. Humanity needs a time to stop
>and recoup-remember who and what they are. The religious basis for
>establishing this time sometimes clowds its meaning. as you said-
>you learned a "horror of Don'ts... " I did too. Now that I'm "un-
>learning" them-the real meaning is coming thru.

I have mixed feelings about Rules and Regs. As I said in my original post,
being Commanded to observe a particular ritual can cut through a lot of
rationalization, procrastination, and confusion. One of the Tikkun
articles notes that if the observance is not a categorial imperative, we,
in our weakness and being intimidated by the pressures of our modern
lives, will tend to slough it off, make it optional.

This is the same precipice that Twelve-Steppers stand on: shall I give my
live over to a Higher Power? Submit to being Commanded?

The religious basis is not the problem. We pick up the horror of being
commanded through our caregivers' attitudes, whether they sound punitive
and harried or whether they can trasmit the joy of the observance. Some
Orthodox children really enjoy Shabbat, keeping kosher, and the other
mitzvot, don't question them or try to rebel. Others feel oppressed by

I also think best late at night when everything is quiet. I have noticed
that when I schedule too much, my psyche refuses to let me go to bed at a
reasonable hour and I wander around the dark house ruminating. The dark
side will win out.


Judith Weiss *
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-- (Judith Weiss)

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