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Book by Cardin, Nina Beth
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Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is the Director of Jewish Life at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, and the Chair of the Editorial Committee of Sh'ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility. She was the editor of Sh'ma from 1993 to 1998, and Director of the National Jewish Healing Center in New York City from 1995 to 1997. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, Rabbi Avram Reisner, and their children.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
We Jews are a union of weavers. Interlacing our traditions and languages, our rituals and laws, with fibers gathered from the cultures around us, we each weave a personal shawl of Judaism. Some shawls are open and loose, allowing the currents of other cultures to flow in and out easily. Others are fine and tight, holding much of Jewish culture in and foreign cultures out.
The world of Judaism is filled with shawls of different weaves, from loose to fine, filtering the larger world in or out to a greater or lesser degree. Each adds its flair, its strength, and its warmth to the sacred garment of the Jewish people. Our choice of weave determines where we worship, what we eat, where we live, how we pray, whom we marry, what we do in our spare time, and how we educate our children. And every now and then we add a thread or two of a new hue and a new texture that serves to enrich and extend our wardrobe.
Sadly, sometimes we derogate one another's craftsmanship. It is true that with too loose a weave the cloth loses its integrity and ceases to be. And it is also true that with too tight a weave the body underneath smothers and dies. But most of our shawls fall somewhere in between. They complement one another, reflect in their similarity of form one another's authenticity, preserve the secrets of the different weaves for one another and for future generations, which is very good, for no one shawl can suit every Jew. And yet while we weavers differ, we should acknowledge that we all work on the same loom, with the same warp holding tight our differing patterns of weft. And that, if nothing else, should unite us.
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