I belong to an Upper West Side woman’s study group called Me’AZ. The name arises from our study of Avivah Zornberg, hence the initials AZ. In Hebrew it means “from AZ” and also, loosely translated, “from then on” or more poetically, harking back to long ago. Even though women may not have gathered in study groups such as ours since the before-time, the collective feeling, the text and issues we grapple with are ancient, so the name fits us just fine.
Me’AZ has become accustomed to admitting of paradox and lowered expectations when it comes to take-away truths. But this, if you ask me, is a sign of shared spiritual maturation. Right now, we are completing the study of Radical Judaism by Arthur Green.
Rabbi Art G writes, “For me the personal God is … a set of projected images that we know and use rather than an ultimate reality.” And a few paragraphs later he says, “Yet I still affirm there is a God who seeks us out.”
We spend maybe a little more time than we ought to untangling the conundrum: How can a non-entity, even a divine one, seek us out? Each of us gives the idea a spin, weaving in a little Hasidic tale here, a little Mordecai Kaplan there and something of our own. It’s a long, warm, light-filled Shabbat afternoon and no one is in the usual kind of hurry to get things done.