This is the first in a new series of 10 simple (but not simplistic) ideas on religion and politics by religious leaders, political activists, or academics. The one rule: each idea must given in a concise, “tweetable” format.
Today’s 10 Simple Ideas features Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, a former co-chair of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. T’ruah is an organization of rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism who advocate for human rights in Israel and North America. Goldenberg is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, a Reform congregation in Chester, Connecticut (check out at its building, which features art and architecture by former member Sol LeWitt). She and her husband Jim are the parents of Amina, nine, and Ziv, seven.
1. Correct a misconception that people sometimes have about your religion.Our God IS one of compassion and love.
2. What is the most important belief in your life?All human beings were created in the image of the Divine.
3. If you could make one change to your religion, what would it be?If only it could be more resistant to warped extreme violent interpretations.
4. What one commonly held belief would you like people to stop believing?Stop believing that the poor are to blame for their plight.
5. Do you believe or do something that most people think is nuts?I go on week-long fully silent Jewish meditation retreats – yes, Jewish and silent!
6. If you could make one change to the federal budget, what would it be?A lot LESS money for war and prisons, a lot MORE money for education and caring for each other.
7. What practical advice would you give a leader in your religion who wants to get involved in a political cause?Speak out even if you are afraid. Ground yourself in Torah.
8. What is one simple idea that you wished everyone would think about?Your enemy is a human being too. To make peace, you have to talk to him.
9. What conventional wisdom about politics or religion is just flat wrong?That they don't mix. Religion doesn't matter unless it guides our real lives in this real world.
10. What gives you hope?This little light of mine. . . When I most despair this broken world that's when I gotta sing.