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10 Elul 5783

Rabbi Aviva Kipen

Progressive Judaism Victoria

Rabbi Dr Danny  Schiff’s latest book, Judaism in a Digital Age: An Ancient Tradition Confronts a Transformative Era (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) reminds us that an endless smorgasbord of Jewish multiple choice options with no coercive obligation to dine at the religious table, risks the eventual dwindling of Progressive Judaism. By implication, all options are at risk to freedom of choice.

Without coercive control to prevent it, humans have chosen to discard mountains of unrecyclable plastic, fill the seas with pollution, create mountains of discarded clothes that won’t compost; to put immediate convenience over long term sustainability.

This ecological metaphor shifts the Elul focus from the interior world of spirituality to the visible landscape of the debris that accumulates from lack of thoughtful choice, to the availability of sustainable rather than captivating-but-transient spiritual options from which to choose. Elul is the annual audit that offers a month-long engagement with the consequences of our 5783 actions and a chance to tweak the policy settings that will govern our conduct in 5784.

Governance: the accountability framework enabling meaningful assessment of action against standards. Self-governance by everyone contributes to a collectively accountable peoplehood. Though many religious standards apply, one month of deeply engaged reflection around our accountability-to-self against the standards that we identify as Godly, has begun.

See more Elul Reflections