The spirit of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute is represented in the cooperative programs held in the community to enlighten, inform, and promote inclusivity.
These events bring together diverse voices and faith traditions to find a common ground while still honoring individual experiences.
Whether it is working with others in the community to host a civilized discussion about polarizing issues or organizing a celebration that welcomes all and encourages learning through differences, the institute has found great success carrying out its mission through these community collaborations.
"Through interfaith dialogue and service, we promote a vibrant and diverse community for all generations. Beyond tolerance, we value hospitality, understanding, respect, and acceptance."
Kaufman's Weekly Interfaith Insight
"Individualism’s impact on morality and the markets" by Director Doug Kindschi
“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
This is how the book of Judges in the Bible describes the chaos and immorality that threatened the community in the early days of ancient Israel. The phrase is used by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his chapter describing the movement from “We” to “I” in his book Morality.
[Note: We continue the Insights following the chapters in his book currently being read by the Kaufman Interfaith Institute’s book group. This week, October 14, a new Zoom discussion group will meet Thursday evenings from 7 to 8:30 pm. If you have not already signed up, you can do so by clicking here.
While humans have been inclined to selfish acts from the beginning of time, Sacks tracks the development of individualism in society, philosophy, and even religion, during the past few centuries. Autobiographies and self-portraits became common from the early 1600s. The philosopher Descartes built his system on the individual realization that his own self-consciousness cannot be doubted: “I think; therefore I am.” Earlier, the reformer Martin Luther built his religious understanding on the primacy of the “individual’s direct encounter with God, the ‘I’ of faith unmediated by the ‘We’ of the church.”
Other philosophers from Hobbes, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche continued the development of a radical individualistic approach to what was right, or even to what is truth. Sacks writes, “Morality thus ceased to be what it had usually been understood as being, a shared code by whose rules the member of a group agreed to abide … and became a mere matter of personal taste.”
KAUFMAN'S WEEKLY WATCH
Is Fairness Innate?
This week’s Insight discussed the question of Morality from Rabbi Sacks’ book by the same name. He notes that even young children are quick to cry out “It’s not fair” when they experience unfairness. Sacks called it one of the “first moral propositions we articulate.” He also noted that it is observed in other social animals as demonstrated by the primatologist Frans de Waal. Click here to see his very short video clip of the experiment with primates who express their outrage when something unfair happens.