Once we have set down a certain path, human nature makes it increasingly difficult to reverse course.
So often, the discourse describes technological change as something that is being done to us whereas, in fact, we are the source of technological innovation and experimentation.
We humans are naturally curious creatures — we are born to explore. A mission to Mars excites us because we simply don’t know what we’ll discover, or how exactly it will add to our knowledge, or what new technologies will arise as a result. Even if we don’t immediately sense its benefits, it still has value, because the journey of learning is its own reward.
Too often, preparing students to become bar or bat mitzvah feels like “studying for the test.” And as anyone who has ever “studied for the test” knows, the day after the test, all the information goes in one ear and out the other. Instead, becoming bar or bat mitzvah should truly be about making a transition — namely, from being a child in the Jewish community to becoming an adult. And so as our 13-year-olds grow and develop, and as we celebrate their entrance into the Jewish community, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to teach them skills for life-long learning.
While some people think of science and religion as being inherently in conflict, I think it’s because they tend to define “religion” as “blind acceptance and complete certainty about silly, superstitious fantasies.” Quite honestly, if that’s what religion really was, I wouldn’t be religious! In fact, it’s not “religion” in general, but that particular definition of religion that is so often in conflict with science. Instead, my experience with Judaism has been that it embraces science quite easily. So why is that?
We spend much more time wandering in the wilderness than living in the Promised Land. In fact, that may be why the Torah was given in middle of the wilderness — to remind us that while the Promised Land is wonderful, we learn our greatest lessons on the journey along the way.