I’m friends with professionals who are in Judaism’s marketing department. They are synagogue leaders, teachers, non-profit directors, counselors, rabbis, rebbetzins, youth group advisers, and the list goes on.
My question is this: Is custom packaging Judaism for any given audience wrong?
I am confident that enriching and expanding the Jewish community is a good thing. My question is one of parameters.
It seems that Judaism – and the Torah specifically- should be enough. The wisdom is rich and relevant. The values are clearly for the good of the people. Why should the Torah need PR?
On the other hand, those said values and guidelines have an image. Like it or not. When any given person thinks about living a Jewish life, a picture is conjured up. A picture also comes to mind when considering the G-word for that matter (rhymes with cod).
For some, God is Santa and He needs to hand out presents to us so we know we’re loved. For others, God is a deadbeat dad who created a world and walked away. Worse yet, God is a sadist who takes pleasure in the world’s clashes and suffering.
So too with Torah Judaism. Picture Judaism. (I’ll give you a minute…) Did you think of a faceless old rabbi with a silver long beard and dusty black hat sitting in a stuffy room hunched over a book?
Surely our definitions of God and Torah Judaism needs reworking.
Obviously Judaism isn’t just for the old Torah scholar. Judaism is for all of us.
Packaging God and Judaism has already been done by every single one of us. Every Jew who’s spent two minutes thinking about his/her own heritage.
Not only is it right to repackage Judaism and God, it is necessary since there are so many distorted images already out there. In order for us all to be great Jewish leaders (which would be ideal), we need to have a mature grasp on what God and the Torah is really all about.
That way, we fully understand the content to ensure it’s not manipulated. The message must always stay intact. But the packaging? That’s up for grabs.