Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rabbi Rocks

If my posts have taken on a distinctly Hebrew flair lately, I apologize. I have been consumed with conversion. Between the Friday night Shabbat potlucks and the writing and editing of the Personal Statement (you don't know how badly I want to re-write the song "Personal Jesus" and sing a whole chorus about my essay... Reach out, write me...), I have a whole lot of Judaism goin' on over here.

This past Friday, we attended services and were treated to a sermon by Rabbi Rosenzweig. Now, both rabbis do a nice job when delivering a sermon. Emily is always a little more political, and her jokes are always more liberally sprinkled about, so I knew I was in for a treat. As the Torah portion was Leviticus - dealing with rules and exactly how one should sacrifice what and when, etc. etc., she didn't have a lot of tantalizing material to work with. Or so I thought.

We were about 7 minutes into the sermon when she started making comparisons to the AIG honchos who cashed their checks (or rather the money in those checks) and the "treif" or ritually unclean meat which Jews are forbidden to eat. It was about a 60 second leap before the word "Sexting" left her mouth for the first time. Sexting, for those of you who may not know, involves people - usually young girls, it seems - sending sexually explicit photos of themselves over their phones via text message.

In the course of the next five minutes or so, Emily must have said the word "sexting" about 7 or 8 times from the bimah (the Jewish equivalent to the altar). General shifting in the seats and nervous laughter was heard the first time she said it. The next seven times or so, people, I think, really tried to hear her message.

Which is great, because, as it so happens, we had visitors in the congregation that night. A group of teens from Saint Mary of Cortona Church. A group of young people that likely knew exactly what Emily was talking about, even if she had to explain it to the rest of us. Emily stood there and explained to them, and to us, that the lax morals and the lowered bar of socially acceptable sexual behavior is, in a word, treif.

How refreshing to have someone think through a seemingly mundane passage of scripture and find something so thoroughly modern - even shocking - that she made us pay attention. Dude, our rabbi ROCKS.

I am sure there are folks in the congregation who would disagree. Who were possibly offended by the content of the sermon on Friday. I say, keep on preaching, sister. That is exactly what the pulpit is for. Making ancient, seemingly outdated words modern. SHE GETS IT. I cannot tell you the number of Catholic homilies I have sat through. At least once a week from first grade through 12th, a few in college - mind numbing. Not once did I ever have an "Aha! Moment." I have had several in the 5 or so years I have been attending Temple Israel. That is one of many reasons I am converting.

Another, very minor reason? Because the Rabbi Rocks. :)


Tammy Howard said...

She sounds awesome! that's what I want in a place of worship, too - someone who can make it all relevant.

Tom posted about religion today, too. Hmmmm.

Jenny Penny said...

Well, I just learned a new word. I didn't know that one. My friend's son got caught doing it last year, though, as did a girl in his class. They were exchanging pics. I didn't know it was called sexting. Whatever it was, it freaked me right out. I'm totally down with you on this one. I have been soul-searching, faith-hunting, and church-auditioning for more than a decade now, and as I linger ever closer to the pool of agnosticism, I can't let go of the searching if only because I get so much out of a good sermon. To me, a good message from the pulpit is always the magnet. By the way, I'm enjoying reading about your conversion. It gets the brew in my head churning every time....