Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rabbi Adam Chalom - Kol Hadash Podcast

Rabbi Adam Chalom (pronounce 'Shalom') can be heard on the podcast Kol Hadash. There are currently six issues in the feed that are recordings of his sermons before the congregation. The majority are connected with the recently passed High Holidays and superficially do not seem very different from any other rabbi speeching before his flock. (feed) However there is something very different.

One, the most recent, issue is about the more uncommon and complicated subject of Jews and the Muslim World. This is much less a sermon and more a lecture and a very interesting one at that, unfortunately the audio quality is below par and the rabbi can barely be understood. It gives though the first indication something is different with Rabbi Chalom. Another indicator is the name of his congregation: Kol Hadash, humanistic congregation.

Some of the sermons give a little bit of a hint what Chalom means by Humanistic. It appears Humanistic Judaism is not Orthodox, not Conservative and not even Reformed. I am going to listen to more in order to find out. It is one thing to hear the occasional sermon that I find uplifting, but I always struggle with the awkward feeling I am eavesdropping on a gathering that I am not part of, do not want to be part of and cannot be part of, because I do not believe, I do not belong and I am just this happy go lucky secular individualist. Chalom however, seems to embrace secularism. His Judaism seems to try to combine the religious tradition with modern concepts. He suggests he does not believe either, or at least does not propose you must believe. He openly questions whether one must uphold all the prescriptions, including keeping kosher and sabbath.

Not believing in god, not keeping kosher and not keeping sabbath sort of defines a very large portion of people who might feel connected to Judaism, however, I never thought they might have a congregation. I never thought they might be collectively doing something with it. That makes me want to hear more of Kol Hadash. (Which, by the way aptly means: new voice)

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