One of the books I forgot to mention in my list of partially read books was Jonathan Rosen’s The Talmud and The Internet. The title is the best of it, I’m afraid, but as I trawled for ideas for an assembly, I stumbled on this:
The promise of the Talmud, I suppose, is that it isn’t a book– it’s a sort of drift net for catching God, stretching out through time and space in ever-widening spools. The fact that just about everything else swims into the net — legal questions and sartorial questions and culimary questions and agricultural questions and calendrical questions and apistemological question, the Talmudic equivalent of porpoises and turtles and old boots — becomes part of the lesson the Talmud teaches. It is the humble interruptions as well as the lofty aspirations that matter. In that regard, the Talmud is a net for catching God, but it ensnares men and women in the process.
This is the Judaism I grew up with and encountered through classmates, neigbours, friends. What happens in Gaza and the West Bank is as far removed from this — from the best of Judaism– as the proposed bill in Nigeria is removed from common decency and any semblence of Christian love.
(oh dear, an innocent and lovely quotation seems to have turned into an excuse for buzzy bees. still…)