Thursday, April 21, 2011

Listening ideas for 21 April 2011

In Our Time
The Pelagian Controversy
Melvyn Bragg discusses The Pelagian Controversy. With Caroline Humfress, Martin Palmer and John Milbank.
(review, feed)

Center for Near Eastern Studies
Violence's Law
A lecture with George Bisharat, UC Hastings College of the Law
(review, feed)

Adam Chalom at Georgetown University

What is Secular Judaism is a difficult enough question, but what to think of secular Jews having a community and a rabbi of their own? That seems a bit of an oxymoron. I am much fascinated by the congregation of that sort in Chicago and their rabbi Adam Chalom, who can be heard on the podcast Kol Hadash - new voice (feed).

On 11 April Kol Hadash published a guest lecture Adam Chalom held at Georgetown University in which he explains better than ever what is Secular Jewish congregation he is leading. One of the strongest elements is this: these people identify with Jewish Culture, feel attached to it and feel the need to congregate even if they do not believe in God and do not keep kosher and Sabbath and all the other Mitzvot. Chalom works out the philosophy and describes how it works in practice.

Of course this triggers a lot of questions and a good half hour of the recording is spent on Chalom answering questions from the audience. For example the question: how does Chalom's Humanist Judaism define who is a Jew and who is not? And how does it offer entry to the club. Do they do conversions and if so how? His answers seem rather pragmatic: the person who identifies with Jews and Jewish culture, for him, is a Jew. And one who wants to enter... well, let him have it. Should you want some kind of ritual, or formal acceptance - it can be arranged.

More Kol Hadash:
The Synagogue,
Rabbi Adam Chalom - Kol Hadash Podcast