What kind of Judaism do I feel is most authentic? First let me say what I think it’s not. It’s not one that just goes through the motions of formal Halachic practices just because a person learned it from someone or it’s part of his culture or because he wants to earn brownie points in heaven. On the other hand, it’s not the kind where someone ignores Halachic practice just because it’s not convenient or because he doesn’t feel anything. It’s also not one that merely tries to reconcile ancient teachings with values of modern life and lifestyles.
I want the Judaism where proponents and masters can make the Torah come alive, and show rainbow lights jumping out of every letter. I want a Judaism where men and women live in many worlds at the same time, and can travel sanely and wholly between them. I want to be affiliated with a Judaism where someone can raise the dead with a simple heartfelt prayer, where angels stop whatever they’re doing to hear a child singing. I want a Judaism whose adherents can cure a fatal illness with brandy and old cheese, where the challah made by a holy woman brings blessings to the entire town. I want a Judaism where Jewish filmmakers are producing a hundred Ushpizin’s every year, where a Rebbe cries when he hears that a Jew at the other end of the world needs help materially or spiritually. I want Judaism where anyone can open a Torah or Chumash, and be able to locate anything anywhere, and not just in the text. And I want a Judaism whose devotees care and share their knowledge and skills with the entire world, without compromising one iota of Jewish heritage and principles, and with respect for everyone’s personal spiritual journey. And to that kind of Judaism I can give no label except to say we are the ambassadors of an infinite, omniscient, and compassionate G-d.
Note: this piece was delivered at Derech Chaim Jewish Movements Haver Panel.