+ Israel is absolutely near a final agreement to get Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held captive for more than a year by Palestinian militants, back into Israel. The catch? Well, they have to release 100 prisoners, some who are terrorists associated with Hamas, upon Shalit's being handed over to Egyptian security personnel ... not to mention the other 100 prisoners Israeli has to release after Shalit makes it back to Israel. That's 200 dangerous people who want Israel blown off the face of the planet, mind you. Now, I'd all but forgotten about Shalit, and I feel really bad about saying that, but it's one of those things that was horrible for the first six months and then became this ridiculous stand-off where you knew they weren't going to kill him. They'd hold him for a hundred years if they could, trying to get their dangerous criminals released. Also, this seems like the kind of thing that will happen, with frequency, for as long as there is no peace or at least an understanding between Israelis/Palestinians.
+ There was a little write-up over on Jewschool from Christmas Day about a conference ABOUT Reform Judaism. Recently, the Union for Reform Judaism threw a big bash out in San Diego and from what I hear, it went swimmingly. The writer on Jewschool, though, makes a point to express that this conference (held in Israel) was not hosted by the URJ, but rather by the Van Leer Institute. The slide posted along with that post has a professor at Brandeis asking one of her students why he/she is going on to rabbinical school to be a Reform rabbi. The answer is not only shocking, but deeply disturbing.
Well, I want to keep on learning more about Judaism. I want to study Jewish texts all the time, till I learn as much as I can. I want to explore Jewish rituals, to lead a committed Jewish life. I'm a committed Reform Jew, and I want study to be central to my life, but I sure don't want to be a rabbi. That's just the only way I can continue to study and stay in the Reform movement.Say what? There are people going to rabbinical school who just want to be Reform Jews but think -- for some reason -- that they can't do so without hitting up rabbinical school? The professor said this response is the sentiment of many of her students, too. The only thing shocking than this response is the comments that follow the posting. It would appear that this is a common thing -- people going to rabbinical school to merely study Judaism, but with no intentions of becoming rabbis. Why do these people not pursue Master's or PhD's in Judaic studies? It just seems ... illogical to me. Or is this, perhaps, the sign that there is not enough Jewish education available for adults? Almost every shul I've gone to has had active Jewish Adult Education classes, but few people ever attended them, and most of those who did happened to be older, in their 50s and 60s. So what is the 20-something Jew to do to keep up on Jewish living?
Not go to rabbinical school for kicks and giggles, that's what.