Many of our social, political, and cultural leaders speak in a rigid language of faith in which God acts unfettered in the world. Yet Judaism is quite skeptical of this notion, wrestling deeply with the question: if humans have agency, can we believe that God still plays a role? How can we be blamed for immoral acts if God controls our free will? These questions transform the notion of faith away from a dogmatic creed to a belief in a relationship and process.
In this three-part series, God in an Age of Certainty and Instability, Joshua Ladon, Shalom Hartman Institute Director of Education, explores Jewish faith today: we live in a paradoxical moment where certainty and instability feel simultaneously rampant. War, climate catastrophe, political partisanship, economic uncertainty, antisemitism – the list is long – create legitimate fears about our lives and our futures. Yet our leaders (political, religious, societal) speak in absolute soundbites. And through our digital technologies we feel like the ultimate protagonists – powerful, invincible, in full control of our destinies. To catalyze an engaged, robust, pluralistic Judaism, we require fluency in Jewish God-language. Our study of faith will serve our souls while inspiring us to strengthen society.
This program is part of Ideas for Today, curated courses by Hartman Institute scholars on the big Jewish ideas we need to think better and do better.
Other classes in the series God in an Age of Certainty and Instability: