Help improve the parsha project process here, or catch up on logistics.


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Every week for Jews there is a new Torah reading. I had the idea to use this format for interfaith dialogue. There's already a handy format. But, I would not want to limit it to Judaic ideas. So if something appears Christological in the text, bring that up. If something appears to relate to the Buddha Dharma, bring that up. If there's something that bothers you about the text, bring that up (but if you're bothered often you might want to leave room for other discussion sometimes.) Don't worry about sticking to the plain meaning of the text. Streeeeeeeetch it. Or read it plainly. Whatever angle you want. And maybe we could have a discussion that way. The only thing is that I would want us together to choose to terminate every conversation at the end of the week, wherever it is, let it go, and start the new parsha. Because we could really spend forever on any one, especially given how many different views we have, unless there was enough interest that we could have a different thread each week and continue the old while starting the new.

I want it to be a real discussion so while I'd love information taken from outside sources, copying and pasting those sources (unless they're quotes from the week's portion) might move away from dialogue.

I don't want to start right now, I just want to gauge the interest, get a response as far as what people think about this idea, how many are eager to participate in this ecumenical experiment and work through the Torah this way. If the idea of using the weekly parsha as the model makes you uncomfortable in any way, please voice that too, because we could try something else.

Peace and blessings.

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Re: Interfaith parsha project

I think it's a good idea - I'm wondering if perhaps it may not warrant it's own board as well, if you wanted to make a real push with it.
Re: Interfaith parsha project


if enough people hop on board I'm game. But I don't think it can work, as I have it in mind, unless there's a core group of people committed to reading and discussing. It all depends on what the response is.

Oh, and I almost forgot... This is the way that the weekly parshiot are divided for those who are interested:

Re: Interfaith parsha project

Okay, we can start off and see if it leads to anywhere, and deal with it as such then.
Re: Interfaith parsha project

dauer said:

if enough people hop on board I'm game. But I don't think it can work, as I have it in mind, unless there's a core group of people committed to reading and discussing. It all depends on what the response is.

Oh, and I almost forgot... This is the way that the weekly parshiot are divided for those who are interested:

Kewl. Am I reading this schedule correctly? I've hotlinked these verses:

Sept. 3rd, Parashat Re'eh
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17, Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Re: Interfaith parsha project


that's correct, but it ends that Saturday. And unless anyone sees a reason to include it, I would rather leave the haftarah, the section from the Prophets, aside because it's arbitrarily connected to the text by the Jewish tradition (sometimes for obvious reasons and sometimes not), unless anyone happens to see a reason to bring it up one week as part of the discussion. That way the focus will remain more open.

So let's start Sunday with Shoftim, which is Deut. 16:18 - 21:9. I'll have some things to say, but please don't wait for me. I want this to remain as open and un-guided as possible to ensure the greatest number of views and the greatest amount of dialogue. Yes, I have a dream.

Brian, if it makes sense to you to do something with this boardwise, please do. I am in awe of your skillful webmastering prowess.

Re: Interfaith parsha project

I'm in. I'm very much interested in the studying of the Torah. I think you are right to exclude the haftarah, since that would only serve to confuse the conversation. Besides, readings assigned in the Torah is quite lengthy and will give sufficient subject matter for discussion.

dauer, I am a bit confused at the parashat names in the link. I'm assuming these are specific weeks for readings. Is there some place where we can reference these parachats to actually dates?
Re: Interfaith parsha project

I'm interested too. Can you please cut and paste post the reading so we can be sure we are all looking at the same thing?

Re: Interfaith parsha project

Oh, right. The numbering is sometimes different. If anyone can find something that has the Jewish chaptering and the Christian chaptering compared that would be excellent, because I think it becomes a little confusing in Deuteronomy. I'll post the first chapter and the last chapter so whomeverr wishes can then find it regardless of what text they're working from. I won't be using this translation. I like the Everett Fox. But it's all online and according to Jewish chaptering. It also has rashi who is an important Jewish commentator.

Chapter 16

18. You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord, your God, is giving you, for your tribes, and they shall judge the people [with] righteous judgment.
19. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show favoritism, and you shall not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words.
20. Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your God, is giving you.
21. You shall not plant for yourself an asherah, [or] any tree, near the altar of the Lord, your God, which you shall make for yourself.
22. And you shall not set up for yourself a monument, which the Lord, your God hates.

Chapter 20

1. When you go out to war against your enemies, and you see horse and chariot, a people more numerous than you, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord, your God is with you Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
2. And it will be, when you approach the battle, that the kohen shall come near, and speak to the people.
3. And he shall say to them, "Hear, O Israel, today you are approaching the battle against your enemies. Let your hearts not be faint; you shall not be afraid, and you shall not be alarmed, and you shall not be terrified because of them.
4. For the Lord, your God, is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
5. And the officers shall speak to the people, saying, What man is there who has built a new house and has not [yet] inaugurated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man inaugurate it.
6. And what man is there who has planted a vineyard, and has not [yet] redeemed it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man redeem it.
7. And what man is there who has betrothed a woman and has not [yet] taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the war, and another man take her."
8. And the officers shall continue to speak to the people and say, "What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, that he should not cause the heart of his brothers to melt, as his heart."
9. And it shall be, that when the officials finish speaking to the people, they shall appoint officers of the legions at the edges of the people.
10. When you approach a city to wage war against it, you shall propose peace to it.
11. And it will be, if it responds to you with peace, and it opens up to you, then it will be, [that] all the people found therein shall become tributary to you, and they shall serve you.
12. But if it does not make peace with you, and it wages war against you, you shall besiege it,
13. and the Lord, your God, will deliver it into your hands, and you shall strike all its males with the edge of the sword.
14. However, the women, the children, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoils you shall take for yourself, and you shall eat the spoils of your enemies, which the Lord, your God, has given you.
15. Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.
16. However, of these peoples' cities, which the Lord, your God, gives you as an inheritance, you shall not allow any soul to live.
17. Rather, you shall utterly destroy them: The Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord, your God, has commanded you.
18. So that they should not teach you to act according to all their abominations that they have done for their gods, whereby you would sin against the Lord, your God.
19. When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the tree of the field a man, to go into the siege before you?
20. However, a tree you know is not a food tree, you may destroy and cut down, and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until its submission.

Chapter 21

1. If a slain person be found in the land which the Lord, your God is giving you to possess, lying in the field, [and] it is not known who slew him,
2. then your elders and judges shall go forth, and they shall measure to the cities around the corpse.
3. And it will be, [that from] the city closer to the corpse, the elders of that city shall take a calf with which work has never been done, [and] that has never drawn a yoke,
4. and the elders of that city shall bring the calf down to a rugged valley, which was neither tilled nor sown, and there in the valley, they shall decapitate the calf.
5. And the kohanim, the sons of Levi, shall approach, for the Lord, your God, has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the Name of the Lord, and by their mouth shall every controversy and every lesion be [judged].
6. And all the elders of that city, who are the nearest to the corpse, shall wash their hands over the calf that was decapitated in the valley;
7. And they shall announce and say, "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see [this crime]."
8. "Atone for Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and lay not [the guilt of] innocent blood among your people Israel." And [so] the blood shall be atoned for them.
9. And you shall abolish the [shedding of] innocent blood from among you, for you shall do what is proper in the eyes of the Lord.

If you need to see the chapters in between to find it, just click one of those links and you can look at one of the other chapters.

Re: Interfaith parsha project

Different thread required for any specific topic?

Simply because as this progresses, the discussion could turn into a remarkably complex thread.
Re: Interfaith parsha project

Heres what I was thinking..

create a forum for it.. and every week we have a discussion when that week is over we lock the thread and start a new one.. So anyone interested that is new can go back and read the following weeks of discussion.. You probably have already thought of this but I think that simple might be adequate in this case. Im not sure where you would put the forum.. since its meant to be open to all it should be listed under comp studies or even religion, faith and theology..

Im excited about this because I already know that people will be respectful and if you designate a moderator specifically for this that knows the rules few will step out of bounds.. I was also thinking of a sticky thread of the rules so that people can know that its not just a free for all. Maybe Dauer could write that up if he has time. Anyways thats my idea. :)

Im always wanting to know how Jews read these books and what they see and how differently or similiarly they view these scriptures from me and I think that it will help me grow in understanding of them.

I like your vision Dauer :)
Re: Interfaith parsha project

From the reading assigned for this next week, there is the potential for many topics to cover, such as:

Administration of judges
Unworthy sacrifices
Resolving disputes in the presence of judges
Qualifications and establishment of the king
Administration of priests
Characteristics of the Prophet
Cities of Refuge
Law of witnesses
Law of warfare
Laws of marriage

And so on. I would suggest that the moderator poise one topic within the reading and let the discussion exhaust or have sufficient response of that topic before moving to the next topic. Otherwise, we could have overlapping discussions which could confuse people. Allow the moderator to govern when it's time to move on.
Re: Interfaith parsha project

I'd like to designate this thread for discussion about what we're going to do. I'm going to create a new one called InterfaithTorah Shoftim, or something else if that seems too long. Dondi, I'm going to take the liberty of quoting your summary in the new thread. It feels to me like if we do have someone leading the discussion, then we should have one person from each tradition who is interested in doing so. But if we had actual moderation of the thread, that task seems like it would only take one person.

I wanted to get away from structure, but structure seems like it will be needed now. I'm going to take the liberty of guiding the first discussion as dondi suggested. If the format doesn't work, we can always change next week. and I'm also going to make a thread of the rule like faithfulservant suggested. I'll do that first. I'm excited too because I really feel that we're creating a space where even if we completely disagree with each other, we won't have to feel the need to battle over it. It's more a space to learn from one another about each other's beliefs and views on the text, and even to see into the text in ways we cannot with our own eyes.

Re: Interfaith parsha project

If anyone is interested in leading one of the discussions, please PM me. My hope was to not have any structure at all, so I'm really only asking those who lead to choose what section of the parsha to look at, maybe pose some questions about the text to stimulate conversation, and help move the conversation when it seems like it needs moving. I might be looking for a revolving group of people but if you're only interested in leading once that's okay too.

If anyone has ideas about ways to improve this system so it promotes better dialogue, this thread is a good place to put it. I'd like to hopefully have some community decision to determine what shape the dialogue takes, maybe a poll after a couple months have passed and we've tried a few different ideas out. If you think that some of the ways I have attempted to lead could have been better, please PM me.

Peace and blessings.

Re: Interfaith parsha project

I'm very interested dauer - thank you for coming up with this idea, I look forward to it .... aloha nui, pohaikawahine
Re: Interfaith parsha project

It's almost Shabbos. You know what that means. I won't be online at all. But more importantly, we're moving on to the next parsha when I get back. If you all could take a moment to reflect on the shoftim thread, and also the re'eh thread if you'd like, and how that went, what could have gone better, what went horribly, what went really well, and post in this thread that would be greatly appreciated. Your post could help this project grow into something even greater. If you didn't post in the shoftim thread, don't be afraid to leave a comment here. All are welcome. Please try to be as specific as possible. Thank you.

Re: Interfaith parsha project

So this week doesn't seem like it's as busy, people leaving the parsha project or just not having time to post, and I want to make sure that none of this has to do with the project, and all of it has to do with your life. So if there's any improvement that could be made to the project, in your opinion, which is extremely valuable, please post here or send me a PM and let me know what's not working for you, or what could be working better, or what was working better. If you post it to this thread, there will be space for community brainstorming. I wanted this project from the beginning to remain as much based on community input as possible so I do value what I do hear.

you just have to give it time is all. it is new so that takes awhile for others to catch on. I just saw it a couple of days ago & got real busy on other threads.

some weeks will be busy & some will be slow, you know how that goes.:)