Breaking idols with Rabbi Morris

I know that Rabbi Leon Morris is my kind of guy because when commenting on how nice the spring weather was Friday afternoon, we both said, “Pesach must be coming.” Discussion of seasons in Israel and of the line in G’vurot that will shortly change followed.

sanctuary at temple emanu-el in new york city

I first met Rabbi Morris, one of the most important Liberal Jewish thinkers of our times, a few months ago at Limmud NY 2009. Read about that meeting here.

We were both eager to get to know each other a little better than we’d gotten the chance to at Limmud. A few things got in the way, but we finally managed to get together for lunch on Friday.

He works at the Skirball Center, which is housed in an nominally run by Temple Emanu-El. Emanu-El, if you know anything about Reform Judaism, is the premiere symbol at Classical Reform in the northeast, if not the entire country. It’s sanctuary is awe-inspiringly cathedralesque (if we can pretend that’s a word, for a moment) and they’ve got a tremendous organ. Downstairs, in their social hall, is a huge marble memorial to Isaac Mayer Wise.

And there I was, sitting on the roof, eating lunch with a Rabbi who makes motzi and birkat hamazon with every meal, discussing tradition and increased observance and a sense of commandedness in Reform Judaism.

I felt like I was in Terach’s idol shop, breaking everything.

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