Rev. Mark Goodman and Rex Jung, Ph.D. ask, “How do we learn what we learn?”
If we want Judaism to “stick” for our students, we truly need to be intentional about how we do it.
“The Simpsons” is not simply entertaining — its humor often acts as a vehicle for learning.
Knowledge and uncertainty, and belief and doubt, are often two sides of the same coin, and it’s the dynamic relationship between the two that drives us forward. At the second Sinai and Synapses seminar, Professors Karl Giberson and Stuart Firestein share their thoughts on this tension.
We hold certain beliefs, including beliefs about God — in particular, who or what God is (or is not) and how God acts (or doesn’t act) in the world. But what doesn’t happen often enough — whether someone is a fundamentalist, an atheist, or anything in between — is a willingness to rethink what we believe about God based on new ideas and new experiences.
We look at what is in front of us, and assume that we’ve learned all we need to know about it. So, for example, we live on the land, and therefore, we think that’s where all the interesting things happen. What we ignore — or at least forget — is just how much richness there is below the surface.
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.
Crosswords can teach us more than just the first name of “NYPD Blue” actor Morales. They teach us how to fail — which is what we need to learn how to do in order to truly succeed.
Owning dozens (or hundreds!) of unread books is a very physical reminder that there is always more wisdom being added to the world. It is both inspiring and humbling to know that whatever we learn, there will always be new facts, new interpretations, and new ideas to discover.
“Knowing” can be a big problem, because “knowing” prevents “learning.” And so perhaps that’s why the Rabbis urged us to do something very challenging – to “teach [our] tongue to say ‘I don’t know.’”