13 February 2008

"Rabbi -- you'd make a good pastor"

For my Intro to Judaism class, I went on a field trip to see Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield speak at the Jewish Community Center.

The rabbi claimed that we are living in "the most polarized time in 2000 years."

All the world's religions are seemingly at odds. Even within these religions, there are factions at odds with one another. And within our own personal lives, we find conflict with our friends and family members that can lead to lifelong estrangement.

Hirschfield's answer to this was, "You don't have to be wrong for me to be right." Such is the title of his book. And basically all it means is that two people can have different beliefs, and they can both be right, as long as it works for them. (Okay, frankly, I can't quite see how he filled 288 pages with these ideas. Of course, being that I am already of the same school of thought, it sounds like a big fat DUH to me... but I digress).

This evening, he used an extended metaphor people sitting at a table to show how it is possible for people of different beliefs to get along. "We don't all have to sit at the same end of the table, but at least make sure the table is big enough for everyone," he said. He then went on to say that if you aren't comfortable with the beliefs of someone at the opposite end of the table, you can at least be comfortable with the people next to you, and if they are comfortable with the people next to them, and so on and so on, eventually everyone can reach a mutual understanding.

Too bad the table was only metaphorical. Then again, if such a real table were to exist, I could see some kind of massive food fight breaking out.

The lecture did have some interesting points to it though. Rabbi Hirschfield has lived a colorful life, and he shared a lot of really interesting stories about his travels throughout the Middle East and his theological conversation with a born-again Christian cab driver (who, at the end of their drive, told him with utmost sincerity that he would make a good pastor. Rabbi Hirschfield was surprisingly touched.)

And at the end, the JCC provided some pretty tasty cookies. All in all, a good night.

1 comment:

Erik said...

I'm going to have to agree with you. DUH everyone has their own opinion and that's totally cool.

It would be so much better of a world if there were no such thing as stupid people =\