Archives for October 2014

Opening London TAKUM Session 2014-2015

The TAKUM course has commenced. Fifteen eager readers huddled together in the synagogues’ Beit Midrash on Tuesday evening, each coming from different backgrounds and for different reasons. With the pouring rain outside, warm drinks and biscuits inside, the atmosphere was perfect for Maureen Kendler’s opening session. Through her selected passage we got to grips with the story of Lot and his daughters. We addressed our previous assumptions about the protagonist, the symbolism of the famous pillar of salt and the typically biblical treatment of women in chapter 19 of Bereishit. And all of this before we had even got to the “tikkun olam” part of the exegesis.

 As we delved into the language, Maureen helped us unravel the issues that the Torah and Midrash reveal. Peppered with our own analysis and discussion we discovered powerful messages within the text about morality and about how we engage with and respond to “The Other”. In fact, we learned that the story of Lot provides us with more of a “how not to” as opposed to the “how to” which we would expect and see in previous chapters with Abraham as our moral beacon. The Bible favours those extraordinary characters who behave with excellent compassion to strangers, to vulnerable members of society and the morally transgressive.

We were left understanding Lot’s final/moral implication on Jewish history; The creation of the Moabites, an enemy of the Israelites, born of his seed….Much to consider, much to learn. Two weeks to go until we huddle around table and text with familiar faces again. 

Note: the London cohort has been brought together with the assistance of Jhub, an organization that brings together people who share a commitment to Jewish values.

Maytal Kuperard

Communications and Community