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September 25, 2008 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-09-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Opinion

Drawing On Our Faith

New York

Dream Job: Now

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ESSICA ✓
JCGDPER

DEMOCRAT

L'shanah
Tovah

A No-nonsense
Prosecutor for
Oakland County.

www.coopemow.com

Paid o r and authorized by the:

Jessica Cooper for Oakland County Prosecutor Committee
30150 Telegraph Road, Suite 373 Bingham Farms, MI 48025 Phone: 248-593-6950

Fax: 248-645-1222

1434790

A70

September 25 • 2008

jtki

is neither pro-life nor pro-choice, but
recognizes that abortion, while gener-
e are approaching the
ally prohibited, is sometimes permit-
start of a new year, dur-
ted, and sometimes mandated.
ing which America will
The faith tradition for which I speak
elect a new leader. As we use this time
believes in the truth of its message
to reflect on our lives and how we
and in the uniqueness of its adher-
lead them, I feel it would also be most
ents. But it also respects other people
appropriate to reflect on
of faith and people of no
religion in general — and
faith as being created in the
Judaism in particular
image of God.
— and how we lead our
Judaism has taught
lives as Jews in this great
its daughter religions,
American nation.
Christianity and Islam, of
Last month, I had the
the vital importance of
privilege of addressing a
peace. But it also knows of
session of the Democratic
the importance of a just war
National Convention, titled
and the need to struggle
"Faith in Action." Along
actively against evil.
Rabbi Tzvi
with three clergypersons of
Because of our painful
Hersh
other faith traditions, I was
and
often tragic history, we
Weinreb
asked to deliver a keynote
appreciate,
perhaps more
Special
address. Mine was titled
than
any
other
minority, the
Commentary
"Our Sacred Responsibility
freedom afforded us by this
to Our Neighbor."
great nation and especially
By including such a session in the
the principle of separation of church
program, the convention planners
and state. At the same time, we are
were clearly affirming a role for reli-
convinced that there are undeniably
gion in the American political arena.
legitimate ways for the government to
Many disagree about the legitimacy
assist parents who choose to educate
of that role from a constitutional per-
their children in parochial schools,
spective; but others disagree because
so that these children will share the
of a historic misconception about the
benefits of a general education with
nature of mature religion, which needs all other American children while also
to be rectified.
gaining access to the treasures of their
Under this misconception, religion
faith traditions.
is seen as an "opiate" for the masses or
Thus, we believe in our conception
as an "illusion" for the naive. It is seen
of a proper way of life at the same
as absolutist, rigid, infantile and sim-
time as we embrace the benefit of a
plistic. This is not the religion I know;
pluralistic and open society.
this is not core Judaism.
We believe that faith can be a model
At its very core, Judaism calls for
for struggling with complexity and
lifelong study, for an engagement with
nuance in a creative, relevant, intelli-
traditional texts and their application
gent, and efficacious manner. And we,
to the complex and changing reali-
therefore, assert that there is a place,
ties of life. Far from being simplistic,
nay a necessity, for religion in a demo-
rigid or naive, Judaism enlivens the
cratic society as it struggles mightily
critical function. It struggles mightily
to retain morality and decency in the
with subtlety and conflict. When we
face of the formidable, but not insu-
contemplate the role of faith traditions perable, challenges of the 21st century.
in a democratic society, it is of such a
We enter into the Jewish new year
subtle complex creativity and mature
encouraged that both political parties
religion of which we speak. The voice
have now opened themselves to the
of such an institution is essential for
resources of religious thought. As Jews,
a polity that wishes to engage, freshly
we are committed to contributing to
and effectively, the ethical challenges
the advancement of this great nation
with which our times confront us.
by drawing from the wellsprings of
The faith tradition for which I speak our timeless faith.
is proud to endorse scientific research,
Ketivah va-chatimah tovah. A
including stem cell research, while not happy and peaceful new year to all! 0
compromising the value of the begin-
nings of human life.
Rabbi Weinreb is executive vice president
The faith tradition for which I speak of the Orthodox Union.

W

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