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Searching for what exists between I and Thou

June 2, 2009

I had lunch yesterday at the Kosher Store with Rabbi Rabbi Neil Blumofe. I jokingly add the extra rabbi because he was ordained twice, having completed studies at both the Academy for Jimagesewish Religion in Los Angeles and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. Blumofe was already the cantor and spiritual leader at Congregation Agudas Achim. He’s also a jazz musician with a deep understanding of T.S. Eliot and a man who can do hilarious Chicago and Cajun accents. But I digress.

So, Neil and I got to talking about spiritual journeys and Judaism and belief in a god. I offhandedly mentioned Martin Buber, having carried I and Thou around with me for years but never really attempting it. 

Neil seized on that and then began telling me about Buber’s collaborator Franz Rosenzweig, a writer and thinker whose approach to Judaism he found more useful. But Buber’s view is quite fascinating as well. God exists between the I and the thou, Blumofe said. In that moment I understood exactly what he meant. But in thinking about it later, I began to struggle with the idea. Maybe it’s time I finally read Buber.

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