A recent post from Open Minded Torah was cross-posted on Cross Currents (www.cross-currents.com), a great resource for diverse Jewish perspectives within the orthodox (i hate that word!) framework. Sarah Shapiro, noted author (and friend), expressed a reservation about the title of this blog (which she had actually already shared with me privately). Since her comments appear on Cross-Currents, I thought I'd re-post them here with my response--which addresses, though indirectly, some of the comments posted on this blog. Her post came as a specific response to my "Loving the Stranger (within)"
Here are Sarah's comments:
The idea of understanding “love the stranger” as a command to “love the stranger within” is for me a new, fascinating interpretion, one that’s rich with multi-faceted meanings.
Yet the phrase itself — “Openminded Torah” — still grates, somehow, and strikes me as a misnomer. Even though it’s clear from the above essay that this is not at all Dr. Kolbrener’s intent, my inner ear still hears those words as if they were apologetically acquiescing to those who view the Torah-observant as “narrow-minded.”
Here's my response:
Sarah correctly intuits my intention (notwithstanding her diyuk--inference--from my blog title). I don’t want to give the sense that Torah observant Jews are narrow-minded, but I do think that there are representations of Torah (appearing extremely authoritative to some) which give the impression that somehow being ‘open minded’ goes against the spirit of authentic Torah. I’m not writing from a sociological perspective, but hoping to write something that may be enabling to those who–-in the service of their Judaism-–want to be more open-minded to themselves.