Limmud NY: Day Two/Three Riot Act roundup…

After Mamma K regaled me with stories of Kutsher‘s past lives, Knucklehead and I beat Shabbas up the hill (by a nose) to arrive for Kol Zimrah style Kabbalat Shabbat. BZ lead a great service, as always, with some help from unnamed musical friends joining the frey on various drums and a double bass. Continuing with the musical theme, Danny Maseng and Debbie Friedman led a rousing Shabbas morning service, although they had some choice (and justifiable) words for the confusing new Reform movement Siddur. A great mix of some tunes I knew and some tunes I didn’t know, they really got everyone involved in it, a great service.
I’ve been to several great workshops, but my personal favorite right now is Rabbi Jennie Rosenn’s Social Jusice and Spirituality- Tikkun HaOlam & Tikkun HaMiddot. A group of about 12 of us or so dove into the “dichotomy” of social justice and spirituality. Rabbi Rosenn’s eventual endpoint was that there should not be a division or boundary between doing social justice work and spirituality when it comes to Judaism. Starting with my favorite Maimonides (the highest of the 8 levels of tsedakah in Laws of Gifts to the Poor), we examined the reasoning behind the commandments to social justice, and the impact they have both on the person giving and the person in need, including Maimonides statement that it’s better to give 1 dinar 1000 times than 1000 dinars once because of the effect on the giver, and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korha’s “Anyone who averts their eyes from a plea for tzedakah is like someone who worships idols.” Other excerpts, including Deuteronomy 15:7-8, the Shulhan Aruch- the Laws of Tzedakah, and Midrash Tanhuma Chayyei Sarah and a fantastic discussion well shepparded by Rabbi Rosenn lead us to Avraham. Avraham’s kavanah is exemplefied by social justice action; he prays by arguing with G-d to save the lives of innocent. Rabbi Rosenn’s course fit an ideal for me: a few great sources, a few thoughtful people, and great discussion lead by someone who had an idea, and let us talk it out and come to a thoughtful conclusion.
Now, dear readers, rumor has it I can learn some new gambling games for Purim. Believe it, there’s a lot of LimmudNY left, hopefully Shamirpower will let me sneak in another post before we head back to the five boroughs. Shavua Tov!

2 thoughts on “Limmud NY: Day Two/Three Riot Act roundup…

  1. “they had some choice (and justifiable) words for the confusing new Reform movement Siddur”
    I was at the service, but couldn’t hear the choice words (though I heard the chuckles following the words)… Any chance you can repeat them?

  2. Benjamin:
    Yeah, it was pretty funny. Momma K had actually had similar frustrations with the new Reform siddur while they were testing at the home shul.
    Debbie Friedman said: No more Gates of Prayer, now it’s Mishkan Tefilah. (pauses for a short second) Maybe later, we’ll sacrifice it.

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