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Open Doors - 2017/18 Membership Renewal

Open Doors 2017/18 renewal forms were mailed to all current members in June.  If you wish to renew online, please login to your account and then click on the Open Doors on the menu bar.  You will see the link to the renewal form in the drop-down menu.

Torah Talk

CELEBRATING CREATIVITY 
 
Embedded within the famous and well-known Torah portion that contains Noah and the Ark are nine essential verses: the narrative known as the Tower of Babel. In these verses, a united humanity have gathered together in the generation following the Great Flood. They all speak a single language and have come to the land of Shinar. There they agree to build a city and a tower tall enough to reach heaven. God, observing their city and tower, "confounds" their speech so that they can no longer understand each other, and scatters them around the world.
 
Ancient Rabbis teach that God confounded the speech of the people because they were too bold; their egos had become too large. In trying to build a tower all the way up to the heavens, they were trying to act like God. God decided that the way to prevent this ego-based behavior was to divide the people forevermore, have them speak many languages and spread them throughout the world.
 
It's taught in a midrash that building the Tower was so important that the leaders would not care about the workers, but only about the bricks. The Tower became a place of societal control, teaches the midrash. The cultural unity, or conformity, did not allow any creativity or freedom of thought. What once was a creative idea had become oppressive.
 
By breaking down the Tower of Babel, spreading human beings throughout the world, and offering many languages, it could be a lesson that God is teaching: a lesson of non-conformity, of creativity. This is what 19th century Rabbi Naphtali Yehuda Tzvi Berlin teaches is the message of this narrative. God is actively encouraging originality and imagination. God wants us to work together, but so much not so that we lose ourselves, our differences, and our creativity.
 
Judaism is an inventive, resourceful and ingenious faith. We have survived-and thrived-because of our creativity and our imagination. The story of the Tower of Babel is yet another reminder of how beautiful and important our imagination, our creativity, and differences are.
   
~ Rabbi Allison Vann 

 

Sun, October 22 2017 2 Cheshvan 5778