Project of IISHJ


Celebration (1988) 

Groups provide security. They also provide boundaries that keep other people out. When we are fearful of the world beyond, we often become pretentious. We imagine that our culture is the best of all possible cultures and that our wisdom is wiser than all the rest. We make ourselves believe that our tradition contains all useful knowledge and that everything we need for life is there. 

But truly wise people know that cultural arrogance is dangerous. It keeps us from seeing the beauty of other traditions. It keeps us from tasting the good fruit of other ethnic trees. 

Our loyalty to our own group is not diminished by our openness to others. Open minds and open hearts allow the fresh winds of other cultures to blow away self-righteousness and to invite new ideas and new perspectives to enrich what we already have. 

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Note on sources: The Jewish Humanist  was the monthly newsletter of The Birmingham Temple. The periodical Humanistic Judaism was the quarterly journal of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. The Center for New Thinking was Wine’s adult learning program beyond Humanistic Judaism. Selections from Wine’s books are appropriately cited.
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