"In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel observed 'It is not the study of Torah that is the essential thing; it is the doing of it.' What should that mean to modern Jews? To many Jews, the "doing" of Torah remains the doing of the 613 commandments as prescribed by rabbinic law. To far more Jews, the doing of Torah is living their Jewish lives: working for Israel's security; fighting anti-Semitism; engaging in the forms of worship of the various streams; strengthening Jewish learning; and engaging in social justice. My own view is that as we stand at a crossroads of Jewish identity, we must embrace, celebrate and legitimize all these diverse expressions of doing Torah -- using them as gateways to reach Jews where they are and bring them into the fuller Jewish community and Jewish life. To reduce doing Torah to observance of traditional mitzvoth and thereby delegitimize those who do Torah in these other ways, is to limit the future strength, vitality and robustness of Jewish life.
Time Period: Contemporary (The Yom Kippur War until the present-day)