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A Live Chat with Two of the Biggest Rabbis in Phoenix
"Have two of the biggest rabbis and Phoenix here with US tonight. Rabbi Dr Smelly Yanko. It's the president and Dina validate me Josh and Rabbi Pinchas. Illusion is the founding rabbi of Congregation Beth Safina in Scottsdale Arizona. Come come welcome rebuttal. Don't usually have two guests because things can get really off the rails so we'll see what happens here rabbis. I'm GONNA call you. We'll we'll we'll figure out what we're GONNA call you but let's start with this question for both of you. Why isn't this Jewish community different from all other Stephanie Loud Mark this is why all the people who don't touch the MIC? Don't have problems every house. That better josh all right there we go sorry Stephanie. So let's start off because there's like no spoilers here because only spoilers so rabbis. Why is this Jewish community different from all other Jewish communities? Are you guys even Jewish? You're letting each other speak. It's an excellent question you went on to. I twenty all right so I think for two main reasons number one. It's a community that has just been founded really in the past. Few decades other communities are centuries old. This community is quite new and therefore its future is still very much ahead of it. I think that's why many people are really attracted to the potential of the community year as I was when I first move you thirteen years ago. And it's buzzing with excitement that's number one number two. I also think that it's a community. It's quite diverse and it's diverse in its culture it's diverse in its levels of observance of background. But it's not just the diversity that is attracting and that is quite unique to Phoenix. But it's a unity within the diversity truly feel that we're a united community which can't be said about Kish Committees. That was speaking about before in other places so those are the two main things that I see almost immediately like musing. Yeah well you say when. I was thinking about moving in the middle my seventh year. The two points that people shared as to why I shouldn't consider it. They said it's an intellectual wasteland which is totally untrue. We have people coming out to our learning events every night interesting ideas. And secondly they said it's a moral morally passive community very private very individualistic which is also completely untrue. When we have various activists campaigns people lined up lined up to show support. Who said that? And should we beat them up here? Do you want the crowd here? That can go after them. We the J. Crew here I want. I want to address the thing that you just said. So I'm kind of two minds about the activism angle. There's a part of me that thinks that it's really beautiful and essential for community of face to be very involved in you know social political elements and feel this kind of moral calling and there's another part of me that is a little bit kind of taken aback by how dominant this political discussion. Become just you know. Want to go to show just to hear the Torah just to be together with Jews and worry about that later some other place. How should we be feeling about? Its connection being social justice and question so Rambam my monitors in the third section of his guide for the perplexed. Says what's the purpose of all this stuff and answer is the welfare of the body and the welfare of the soul by which he means the well. If you have to know a little play there which we do. The welfare of the body means just state and the welfare of the sole means the perfection of the intellect so basically the goal of Judaism view is our inner life and our outer life which is to say the inner life is our ritual or beliefs or spirituality stuff. You're touching on and the outer life which he comes to say becomes the priority is that Jews should be on the front and center of fostering the Jus- -ociety and so I think we have a problem. Today I think that The traditional segment of Jewish life prioritizes the parochial and the traditional and not the universal. And I think the more liberal segments of Jewish life prioritize the universal and less of the less attritional and this middle ground of saying yes we care about the world we care society and we care about Jews. That complete package is what we're GONNA do. You agree that he taught us to call them. Yeah that's pleasure. No NOPE BRONCO. Way Back like twenty minutes back calls me peony so all my friends do so no problem. I I would agree with that. I would say though that needs to be a healthy balance of course between the two because if almost like Mark Twain said some people are so open minded that the brain spill out. Sometimes we were so much in open that we forget the message. And so we have to be steeped in the roots of Judaism very much so and yet not forget a calling to go to the outside point out also that if there is an emphasis in Judaism on which side counts the most. It's the outside if you think of the idea of Mitzvah. Most of the six hundred thirteen meets vote are outside oriented. They deal with the world that don't really deal with the internal world. I can only think I don't know maybe you can take more of to mitzvahs on top of the mind that deal with the inside. Prayer Torah study but otherwise everything else really deals with the outside so there is. I do find this emphasis on. Tacona LOMB on trying to rectify the world of course with God's light and with God's message but on the other hand also not forgetting where we come from forgetting to be a steeped in our roots as possible. Something we talk about a lot on the show. Is this idea that a lot of juice today don't necessarily feel like they can just walk into a synagogue and be welcomed or would even feel comfortable. There would even know how to get there. What do you think is the best way to connect with Jews? Who Don't haven't necessarily found their place within the institutional Jewish world thank you. They should go to the valley. Bettman rush to go ahead twenty. I was first before you go second. I'm sorry what did what are these. Mutations Paul Ince Geneva come on these guys could pull off a Juku. They've got the organization got the intellect coming the trail be stealthy. It's a fascinating question and I think that was a really good at alien one another. It's true and I think that the percentages of Jews were not engaged. Not because they're disinterested because they've been alienated is also very high and I think the challenge here is to embrace pluralism which does not bracket are absolutes but creates space for other absolutes. That means that for those of us who are really fervent beliefs. We learn how to create space for others. And those who are more relativistic and actually don't hold. Views are able to cultivate those in our space. I'm worried about those on the margins. I'm worried about single folks who have had had trouble finding partners and we were the people of Color feel alienated those of lower socioeconomic status who feel alienated Those who are converts all types of marginalized Jews that I think are. Establishments can do better being inclusive those with physical disabilities or and really a whole host of others. And I think our community is very good at embracing those who naturally fit in. I would agree also. I think it's an excellent question because he hit it right on the now. I think the biggest challenge we have is rabbis is to make Judaism not just relevant but also accessible and I would say that the lenses I try to wear as rabbi and I think that all Jews should try to wear is the lenses of what my rabbi teaches in his book. We Jews the STEINFELDT He came up with the idea that he was the first one since then. I've heard it many times. But he came up with this idea. That Judaism is not a religion. I don't approach another Jew because of religion nor do I approach another job. Because he's part of my ethnic group. Judaism is not an ethnic group. Judaism is also another nationality. We don't have to live in Israel to be Jewish. What is Judaism? Judaism is a family. I approach another Jew. Because he's my family and yes you could have two Jews and seven opinions but as another Aba of mine taught it's one heart and we can't forget that we do have one hot. We we are part of that. Same family what unites us is much greater than what divides us as the CLICHE goes. But it's not just a cliche it's the truth and therefore not do is better than me. We all have the same soul. No Jew is wiser than me. No Jew is deeper than me. I think every Jew in a way is a part of God and you can't add measurements to divinity to the infinity God is God and Jews that reflection of God he has that Jewish soul and together as a family. That's what unites us. That's what we celebrate. There's that great bit in Michigan where they say that you know. Why did God make us all descended from the same couple so that nobody could say you're better than my father is so so