Foucault in Exile
Rabbi Steinsaltz offers his perspective on Jewish identity, both for those looking in from the outside and self-identified Jews who oftentimes find little to distinguish themselves from the greater American society. Are Jews a civilization, a religious expression, a race, an ethnicity...? More than just his declaration that Jews are, in fact, a family (with all of the baggage and value that are attached to that definition), Rabbi Steinsaltz's wisdom emerges from his particular love for every type of family member - even those who have been pushed away or pushed themselves away from living a distinctly Jewish life.
While he ultimately discovers meaning in some of the most problematic of the Bible's laws, A. J. Jacob's entertaining recollection of his effort to live a literally Biblically - mandated life for one year highlight the dangers lurking in Biblical literalism. He emphasizes the need to respond to sacred scripture with a critical eye, championing "cafeteria religion" despite the disapproval of fundamentalists.
Fun, interesting, humorous, yet also insightful and reflective. Give this very short speech an attentive ear.