A good argument can lead to healthy transitions, if we agree to resolve our differences

By Betsy Frank

Betsy Frank is UHC para-rabbinic fellow and president.

All life involves transitions. We move from one place to another, sometimes willingly, sometimes not.

Our family relationships change due to marriage, divorce, birth and death.

Yet, we survive and our lives evolve into other forms. In January, we witnessed the transition from one U.S. president to another.

Despite extended disputes over the election results and the horrors of January 6, when mobs tried to take down our federal government, our democracy prevailed.

The Talmud is the go-to source for disagreements

Disagreements are a part of our Jewish heritage and yet our people­hood — our religion — survives.

The Torah recounts instances where some challenged Moses’s leadership.

The Talmud, the premier text of disagreements as far as I am concerned, has recorded for posterity multiple opposing opinions on various topics. Some of the disagreements were resolved and some were not.

Disagreements are a part of our Jewish heritage and yet our people­hood — our religion — remains intact.

Congregational boards such as ours all experience internal disagreements. Some are resolved and some are left for another day.

Yet, congregational boards, through transitions in the form of elections, largely survive.

In larger cities, on some occasions, board members leave a congregation and form a new one.

In a small city such as ours, we learn to live with disagreements as the congregation changes and develops through the years.

I think we are fortunate to be the only game in town, so to speak. We know we must resolve our differences in some way if we are to continue on.

Let’s get together and hash it out

What is the value of disagreement? From my vantage point, disagreements can lead to rich discussions and solutions that surpass proposals from either side in a conflict.

In a society with representative democracy and in a congregation with an elected board, heated disagreements must be resolved in some form.

All life involves transitions, many born in disagreements. Yet, in a society with representative democracy and in a congregation with an elected board, heated disagreements must be resolved in some form — at least until the next election, when the congregation can make changes.

In the tradition of the Talmud, let us all value disagreements. Let us learn to resolve some, live with some, and know that any transition will inevitably lead to more disagreements.

How Jewish is that?

UHC begins lay-led Torah study

In order to increase our Torah learning, a core group of congregants who regularly attend Torah study with the student rabbi have decided to offer a monthly lay-led Torah study, the morning after Shabbat services.

We invite any UHC member to volunteer to lead our study. Susan Kray led our first session and we’re seeking a leader for March 13.

Contact me via email or call Norma at 812-232-5988 to volunteer!

Shalom,

Betsy Frank

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Steve Turetzky
Steve Turetzky
March 5, 2021 11:52 pm

Well put! You and I have had a few political disagreements online … respectfully. We may not resolve them but our friendship will live in spite (or because of) our discussing them.