After nineteen years (or thereabouts) I met JR this morning for coffee. Neither of us had changed as much as the other imagined. I enjoyed the meeting so much - my admiration for him has remained undimmed. We spoke of his disillusionment with religious institutions and whether change may be enabled by questioning from within. He remains orthodox in his roots, but questioning and non-conformist. He seems to believe that his mission is to preach a non-fundamentalist, inclusive standpoint. I stand pointedly outside, a non-believer, lost to the cause. I had assumed that the key deciding factor was that of belief - I had thought it to be a binary switch, but he (correctly, I think) sees even the existence of God as more subtly nuanced. I still felt that he was trying to make a 'big tent' out of Judaism - he may be trying too hard to bridge an irreconcilable divide between a dying religion and its moral distillation. Who knows?
This evening, I asked my mother how JR could have remembered me so clearly amongst the thousands of pupils who passed through his care. She burst into laughter and wouldn't explain why.
Posted by nathan at February 17, 2003 08:50 PM
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