Sunday, March 16, 2008

Black Rabbi Reaches Out to Mainstream of His Faith - New York Times

Black Rabbi Reaches Out to Mainstream of His Faith - New York Times:
"“I am a Jew,” said Rabbi Funnye, “and that breaks through all color and ethnic barriers.”

As a teenager, Rabbi Funnye said he felt disconnected and dissatisfied with his Methodist faith. He embarked on a spiritual journey, investigating other religions, including Islam, before turning to Judaism. He said he found a sense of intellectual and spiritual liberation in Judaism because it encourages constant examination. “The Jew has always questioned,” he said.

Like their rabbi, a majority of Beth Shalom’s members came to Judaism later in life, after wrestling with contradictions and questions that they found in their own earlier beliefs. Many refer to their religious experience as reversion, rather than conversion, and feel a cultural connection to the lost tribes of Israel. They say that Judaism has renewed their sense of personal identity."

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