In the next few months, we are undergoing a change to the Universal Judaism website. This is not coming out of nowhere, but, hopefully, out of Somewhere, that Source of Guidance that is ever-present if one were to but call on Him/Her/It.
It has been in the works for some time, percolating underneath, and somewhat veiled in its overt direction, because– and I must tell you, honestly– I have been somewhat confused.
What actually is Universal Judaism? Is it a denomination? Is it a “perspective” which is a somewhat neutral word I came across? Is it a “Natural Law” view, which was an earlier incarnation, prior to the phrase “Universal” being chosen?
I was confused, I believe, because Judaism was confused, and like a gestating mother, I embodied all these stage of development within me, covered them up with a prayers for Goodness, hoping that the birth, in spite of a little blood loss, and uncomfortable engorgement, would be joyous and well-received.
In the meantime, I was continuing to grow as a person, as a rabbi. My work has increasingly been that of a counselor, not just to people in times of crisis or confusion, but counselor to businessfolk, industrialists, and politicians, all of whom were seeking some kind of Universal knowledge to guide them in their tasks. They found the insights of Universal Judaism to be “just what the Rabbi ordered”.
So, I’ve decided to reconstruct our website. Make it very simple, and direct. Remove some of the hints that this is a new denomination.
The Association for Universal Judaism a teaching organization that will be sharing our light with all the existing denominations of Judaism. We will be sharing our light with all the historical, prophetically-inspired religions such as Christianity and Islam, which are based upon the Jewish rabbinic perspective. And, we will be sharing our light with many secular-humanist, and secular-scientific organizations, all of whom are mainstream contemporary offshoots of basic prophetically-inspired ideas and ethics.
We will be a teaching organization for the purpose of helping all the many different organizations that are all struggling to put forth a coherent World View that is both Truth-based and Tradition-inspired.
A Light Unto the Nations, in keeping with Isaiah’s profound vision!
Now many of you out there may be a little upset; many have approached me about ordination. I want you to know that I am open still to that possibility, and have not changed, for those select students whom I feel are my natural heirs.
And I am not at all closed to the possibility of Universal Judaism congregations, if not a movement, should something like this arise, of its own inspired accord, from any of the seeds that have been planted.
However, right now, I am of the mind that how I can help most, as I reach, in August the august age of 65, is to help enlighten and transform existing organizations and faiths. This is not only in keeping with my rabbinic education, but, also, in keeping with my career roots as an international creative director. This is a world-campaign! Another meaning to Gillette’s tagline: the Best a man (or woman) can get! Which I’m proud to have authored.
Universal Judaism, in this sense, is a “campaign”. It is a campaign that is meant to inspire and to ignite many existing organizations, associations and groups, to become the best they can be. This is no arbitrary, subjective goal. The best anyone can be– if they follow Universal Judaism’s teachings– is someone who helps bring out the Light that is hidden within the human soul, and make this accessible for the purpose of Peace, Justice, Compassion, and Unity for all nations, and all humankind.
Thank you so much for tolerating this short vacation, as we get to work on this new streamlined website.
I look forward to speaking to you all in person, and for rolling up the sleeves, and getting to work. You may find the website off line for a while.
There is a big world out there. The Universal teachings of Judaism are needed more than ever! Dark times require Bright Lights.
Blessings to all.