S4 Ep. 9: Season of Reflection and Repentance

Episode 50 · September 19th, 2022 · 38 mins 10 secs

About this Episode

In this special episode, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D and Rabbi Sandra Lawson discuss their respective processes of preparing for the High Holidays. This isn’t about leading services, but about how, as human beings, they undertake an accounting of the soul, leading to repentance for their own actions and forgiveness toward others. The two friends and colleagues delve into Maimonides as interpreted by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg in her new book On Repentance and Repair. (Among his many contributions, Maimonides, a medieval Torah scholar, philosopher and physician, outlined five steps needed to make true repentance.) Rabbi Sandra describes her difficult relationship with her late mother, and the forgiveness needed to truly care for her mother during illness. The two widen the lens and examine repentance from a societal point of view: how can society account and repent for harms caused to so many groups: Blacks, indigenous Americans, Asian Americans and so on. The two agree that an American reckoning with its troubled legacy is needed. “I think about teshuvah and when it comes to racial justice work, my focus first of all, is primarily within our Jewish spaces,” Lawson says. “I have found that many Jews who benefit from white privilege tend to continue to look outward on racial justice in the larger world, which is fine. But that also needs to be with our own internal work.”

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This podcast is produced by Reconstructing Judaism. Visit us at ReconstructingJudaism.org.

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