Re: Religion in our City

04/07/17 - posted by jb

My thoughts on early religion move in all
Directions and in many ways, I am more
of a spiritual seeker now than ever before in my life.
Yet, religion conjures up more avenues and alleys
than Dashiell Hammet and to explore them and how they circumvent our lives would and maybe does, take several lifetimes.

Being Jewish, religion as a kid was a faith, culture and moral compass along with the opportunity to meet an entire group of new kids from other hoods. In some ways, I grew up with two sets of friends although some overlapped. And the ethnic aspects of being Jewish were enlightening from bagels to bigots. I always felt I had the inside track at the Westlake deli and the outside track in athletics. Surprised I didn't go into competitive eating like Joey Chestnut (not a Jewish name but maybe he changed it from Chestnofski)

Anyway, being involved with human equality causes is part of the Jewish faith and it dovetailed in my growth and training with the Civil Rights Movement. Rabbi Herb Morris was a national leader in ecumenical relations in the Bay Area and my rabbi until He passed in 1995.
His awareness of the world beyond Brotherhood Way was a gift to
Our congregation. When my Nar Mitzvah was cancelled due to JFKs assasination, he incorporated it into the service the following Friday and to hear the tape is still chilling.

Not sure what other faiths have but a bar or baht mitzvah is quite a giant step for a 13 year old kid. To learn a foreign language, Hebrew, for 2 years and then lead a service is a real accomplishment. But as the haiku goes:
Today I am a man
Tomorrow I return to
My seventh grade class

Well, I could wax, ear or Poetically, about my earlier religious experiences. Some a blessing and some traumatic, all a part of who I am. Religious understanding is set by God just to fall short on our death beds. Just ask Tolstoy or that nice Jewish boy, Kafka.


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