The Other River in Lawrence

The river of Judaism is long and broad. It has flowed for thousands of years, and it is fed from tributaries of all kinds. Those tributaries include Talmudic scholars and uneducated faithful; exiles from nations and nation builders; Orthodox observers and atheists; speakers of Hebrew, of Yiddish, of Ladino, and of English; members of Lubavitcher and reform communities; poets and painters and musicians and dreamers; martyrs and healers – these countless springs flowing into a grand, ancient river that continues its majestic course, despite persecution, despite assimilation, despite indifference, and despite difference.

Our differences give the water texture; they produce ed- dies and shallows, rapids and still places in this mighty, often turbulent, often calming river. We have the opportunity to draw on our individual differences to help us more fully experience the river that is Judaism.

In the coming year I will be looking for ways that the LJCC can provide a course for us to learn from each other. We will offer, I hope, organized discussions on topics as di- verse as genealogical research (with an emphasis on Jewish genealogy); atheism and Judaism; the Burning Man Festival ,the Black Rock JCC, and implications for the Lawrence JCC; the notion of sacrifice in Judaism; Jews in the world of modern art; and a host of other subjects for instruction, discussion, and debate. We have the potential to give to each other, and I trust that we will do that as a community. We likewise have the potential to receive from each other, and I trust that we will also do that as a community. We are the springs that feed the tributaries, and we are the great river.

— Jonathan Paretsky

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