I've been keeping an eye on my corner of the blogosphere in search of interesting reflections on the JStreet conference, and here are a few things I've found which I think are worth reading.
Kung Fu Jew asks Are you here for community or to build an effective lobby? I think he's right that some of us were there for community-building (the conference had almost a coming-out-of-the-closet feeling for many who'd long felt silenced around these issues) and some of us were there for political work and lobbying, and those two things don't always go neatly hand-in-hand, though I'm glad the conference made space for both.
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz posts Reflections on the J Street Conference, part 1. She writes:
[T]he conference itself was much more than just a platform for advocating a very specific agenda; at this first gathering, there was an attempt to set a new tone and foster and encourage a culture of dialogue that could be taken back to our home communities.
From TPMCafe comes a story of an encounter with a young Palestinian man who despite pretty significant odds is dedicating himself to dialogue and peace. It's one hell of a story.
And the last commentary to which I'll point today comes from someone who wasn't at the conference but who offers rabbinic wisdom in linking the conference and its themes with the parashat ha-shavua (Torah portion of the week), Lech Lecha. This comes from the blog Doreshet, a recent addition to my blogroll and my aggregator. Doreshet notes that there's a kind of cosmic irony in this conference happening during this week:
If I had to point to the one part of the Bible that most explicitly articulated the Jewish people’s spiritual/mythic/emotional/ancestral connection with the Land of Israel, this would be it. God says, over and over and over again, that S/He is giving this land to Abraham and his descendants, forever and ever.
On the one hand, I can read this through my Reconstructionist lens and say that I don’t believe in a God who acts in history, that the stories in Tanakh are holy simply because they are our stories, and not because they document real events or constitute legally binding contracts. My historical-critical brain supports this, and tells me that stories like these were probably written as political propaganda, designed to cement the ascendancy of one group over another.
However. If that’s all I see when I read this, I think I lose something.
Read the whole post here: Lekh Lekha and JStreet.
I welcome links to other post-JStreet reflections -- feel free to share your own in comments.