Rabbi Caryn Aviv
The Torah of Inclusion holds fast to Kaplan’s conviction that we have the obligation (or privilege, depending on your perspective) to participate in the evolution of Jewish culture, civilization, and spirituality. The Torah of Inclusion joins two terms: Torah + Inclusion. Torah means both the foundational sacred text of Jewish wisdom, as well as the process by which Jews and loved ones discern insights, meaning, goodness, and connection to what we hold sacred in our lives.
Inclusion means expanding who belongs within the tent of Judaism, with particular attention to those who have felt hurt, invisible, excluded, disenfranchised, and on the margins of Jewish life. Inclusion is shorthand for the way we aspire to treat and be with each other, living in the tension and evolution of Jewish and American civilization.
We imagine a maximally inclusive Jewish community that embodies a diverse, open, democratic, egalitarian, and just American society of which we want the Judaism Your Way community to be a part. The Torah of Inclusion is a prophetic voice, speaking both to the Judaism Your Way community and beyond to our wider society. The Torah of Inclusion supports policies that promote inclusion and dignity for all, including people who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and differently-abled.
The Torah of Inclusion represents our evolving view on Judaism, who is included, and who Judaism is for. Much like Kaplan, we believe that Jewish life must embrace creativity, flexibility, justice, compassion, and imagination for Judaism to evolve. We believe and practice through the Torah of Inclusion that there are many right ways to be Jewish and to connect to Jewish/American cultures.
In February 2022, Judaism Your Way launched a new project called Repair & Remedy (please see emailed attachment for more information). Repair & Remedy offers transformative learning opportunities for Jews and our allies to explore Jewish and Black texts about the generational, harmful impacts of racism and to investigate our individual and collective responsibility to right those wrongs through teshuvah and action. Repair & Remedy invites participants to imagine how Jews and our allies can deploy Jewish concepts and practices to repair, remedy, and heal the impacts of racial harm.
Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan believed that Judaism provided ideas, tools, and practices that could improve the human condition. Kaplan also fervently believed that Judaism could contribute towards the creation of a more just and compassionate society and that it was up to us to motivate Jewish individuals and groups to work for justice. Repair & Remedy draws inspiration from and invokes Kaplan’s spirit to create more consciousness, conversation, and action around the need to reimagine racial justice and equity in the United States, and to work towards enacting that vision.
As far as we know, there is no other educational effort that pairs Jewish and Black texts together to study harm, repair, and the impact of racism. And, also as far as we know, there are not currently any efforts in the American Jewish community that seek to galvanize Jews to participate in tangible reparations efforts, which is the goal of our next phase of Repair & Remedy through the creation of giving circles. In both ways, we believe Repair & Remedy is Kaplanian in spirit and educationally innovative in character.
If you’re interested in purchasing the curriculum and learning how to facilitate, please contact Rabbi Caryn Aviv at email@example.com.