Moving Toward the Radical Center: Finally, an extraordinary
Writing as a retired communications (Saint Elizabeth) university professor, I remain entranced by one’s ability to place ideas into responsibly expressed narratives. Such has been the case of my reading and reflecting upon the extraordinary piece about Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz (December 2), which describes a “Brave New Space” in his new book, which I intend to read with great interest.
As I read the article, I felt that Rabbi Gewirtz’s vision became critically important to finally placing my own spiritual thinking into a cohesive connection as we ALL need to focus on “Building our own Spiritual Spaces to Become Spiritual Responders” in our own rights. The entire universe seems to be exceedingly focused on judging and recriminating that we are forgetting to simply remember to “listen and talk” with one another. Instead, we are prone to use our words on social media, email forwards and/or texts to comment or “slam” others for their thinking on any number of issues … most of them seemingly political during these times.
We all need to open our own hearts and souls to actually really actively listen to one another without accusation and to start channeling our own abilities to literally and figuratively open spaces to be more accepting of our differences.
In my own personal yoga therapist certified licensed training, I often practice a blending (Hafta Yoga) of using our physical techniques to channel vital forces of energy. To extend that meaning to becoming “balanced,” I was so taken by the concept of the “Radical Center” as I have always referred to myself as an independent thinker … whether it be as a voter or as an individual involved in a myriad of causes.
And so … to my dear friends … who are on the far right or on the far side of the left, as Chanukah and the Season of Lights approaches, I hope we ALL take Rabbi Gewirtz’s vision of “A Brave New Space” to actively REALLY listen and respect one another without accusation and to start thinking of focusing on our own abilities to take an enormously important personal step forward to be mindful in hopes to reflect, respond and react to the ideas posed in “Radical Centrism.”
With major gratitude to NJJN’s powerful synopsis, for what has recently become a publication of importance, I thank you.
Bring back the latkes!
We, the undersigned, are past champions of the famous Teaneck latke-eating contest, started by Ma’adan and continued by Noah’s Ark. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have not been able to compete since 2019. With the pandemic waning and most businesses returning to pre-pandemic routines, we are writing today to implore The Powers That Be to restore our beloved contest. Not only did it provide us with our fill of delicious latkes and showcase local restaurants, it united the community in the Chanukah spirit — reminding us all of the miracle of Chanukah. The Chanukah candles bring light into the darkness of the world, illuminating God’s presence and reminding us that, like the ancient Maccabees, we, too, must stand up and fight back against the forces of evil. The pandemic has certainly cast a shadow upon the world. Let the return of the Teaneck latke contest pierce that darkness and be a symbol of light and hope that we can and will overcome the hardships of the pandemic.
Josh Lipowsky and Shalom Krischer