Dialogue and Disagreement in the Jewish Tradition

This is the first in a series of posts on differences between Jewish and Christian traditions focusing in particular on attitudes toward the Bible, learning and dialogue.

The Jew has always questioned,” says Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, Jr. profile in the Sunday New York Times. Rabbi Funnye states he found intellectual and spiritual liberation in Judaism because it encourages constant examination.As a teenager he felt disconnected and dissatisfied in his Methodist faith. He tried other religions including Islam before turning to Judaism.

In a first person account a week earlier, New York Times journalist Dana Jennings reports converting for a similar reason. These two narratives caused me to reflect on how the two faith traditions view inquiry and spiritual development, an especially relevant subject in this Holy Week for Christians.

Both accounts captured my curiousity because I’m trying to understand why a vocal minority in my own faith community seem offended by much that it is doing that I consider good and a willingness to do harm to those they disagree with to the point of calling them pejorative names. There seems to be no sense of mutuality much less compassion and respect.

In the next few posts I will write about this effort to understand a seeming paradox.

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