Hope as an Ethical Imperative

Episode 22 · July 22nd, 2021 · 52 mins 48 secs

About this Episode

In 1995, Barbara Breitman’s beloved cousin was murdered and Barbara and her husband, Chaim adopted her cousin’s children. The following year, her husband died suddenly and tragically. In this episode, Brietman – a social worker, therapist, spiritual director and scholar of religion – recounts how she was able to rebuild her life after her world was shattered. And she discusses how lessons learned regarding personal resilience can be translated into the social-political realm. “When I’m talking about hope as a practice, I’m not talking about some fluffy thing,” Breitman says. In Breitman’s telling, hope is an essential Jewish practice. It enables leaders to imagine a different world and work to bring it out about no matter what obstacles stand in the way. She cites Moses, Noah and Mordechai as Biblical characters who embody this kind of hope. How can ordinary people emulate these examples? We talk about this, as well as Brietman’s idea that people can undergo reincarnation within the same lifetime, thus leading multiple lives.

Theme song, “Ilu Finu” by Rabbi Miriam Margles. Her album This is the Day is available for purchase at CDBaby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/miriammarglesandthehadarensemb

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Episode Links

  • Read the Evolve essay: Hope as an Ethical Imperative — Having faith in the power of an ethical/spiritual vision guides our action and activism toward revitalization, justice and compassion.
  • Chapters of the Heart: Jewish Women Sharing the Torah of Our Lives — Chapters of the Heart: Jewish Women Sharing the Torah of Our Lives invites readers into the lives of twenty women for whom Jewish language and texts provide a lens for understanding their experiences. The authors don't just use religious words (texts, theologies, or liturgies) like a cookbook. Instead they serve readers something closer to a real meal, prepared with love and intention. Each essay shares one piece of its writer's heart, one chapter of experience as refracted through the author's particular Jewish optic.
  • Jewish Spiritual Direction: Fundamental Assumptions — Our view of reality can be transformed when we ask, “Where is God/the Holy in this?” and “What is the invitation/opportunity at this moment?” Gradually, we can build a relationship with what is beyond our ability to conceive.
  • Jewish Spiritual Direction at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College — Through spiritual direction, rabbinical students cultivate their ability to discern God’s Presence in their lives — to notice and appreciate moments of holiness, to maintain an awareness of the interconnectedness of all things and to explore ways to be open to the Blessed Holy One in challenging and difficult moments as well as in joyful ones.
  • Psychology Today: Barbara Breitman