“Wow, PunkTorah is really cool. I like what you’re doing. So, who’s your rabbi?”
Well, sorry kids…but we don’t have one. Here’s why:
Welcome to the 21st Century. We live in the information age. Many, many years ago, when it wasn’t as it easy to find all the information you need in a microsecond on the internet, you would naturally turn to you local rabbi for answers. He was the repository for knowledge and practice. For all intents and purposes, he was the Jewish Wikipedia of the diaspora. He had the answers you needed. Nowadays, you just Google it.
This is not to say we don’t need rabbis now. Of course we do. They lead communities and counsel, guiding the Jewish people through rights of passage and life events. They are here to comfort and even scold us when we need it. When we are asked questions, we talk to a number of different rabbis and consult tons of books in our IndieYeshiva library. However, there is a limit to all human beings. PunkTorah is all about smashing idols. Sometimes we make idols of our rabbis. Now don’t freak out, let’s look rationally at this. When we allow someone who “knows better” to spoon feed us, to tell us what we can and can’t do, we give away the power that G-d gave us to reason. We give up our responsibility.We stop making decisions because they are right, and make them because someone told us they are right.
Judaism isn’t a child’s faith. It’s not a child’s spirituality or relationship. We are a grown up faith and need a grown up relationship. We need to be able to understand that we can only have our hands held for so long. Eventually we need to walk on our own two legs.
PunkTorah has many “rabbis”, many teachers. And that’s what a rabbi should be, a guide, not a parent. We don’t have one specific one because we don’t think there is one right way to be Jewish. There is one Torah, and there are millions of Jews, and each Jew can only start where they are. We are about giving out the information, putting the Torah on the table and calling all of us up to look deeply together.
I guess all I am saying is, don’t give away your power, your responsibility. Take control of your relationship with the transcendent. And yes, when you have questions, when you have problems, turn to your rabbi. Just remember the second commandment of Judaism, “You shall have no other gods before me” and the first commandment of punk, “Question authority”.
Having said all that, if you still wanna talk to someone, our director Patrick Aleph is in rabbinical school, and would be glad to help you. Email email@example.com