Talkin’ Spirituality with Scott
Colorado Manager Scott Bratt reflects on what brought him to OneTable, and what he hopes to share in Denver, Boulder, and beyond.
I have always felt a disconnect between my thoughts about religion and spirituality and what I was expected to practice when I went to synagogue. When I was in college at the University of Kansas, I decided to study Comparative Religions with a focus on mysticism, which enabled me to find an expression of Judaism that felt authentic to me, ideas that have helped me form my own understanding of religion and spirituality.
One writing in particular that spoke to me was The Light of Penitence by a twentieth century teacher and leader named Rav Kook. He suggests that personal religious struggle is caused by our misunderstanding of the word “God.”
“All the divine names give us only a tiny and dull spark of the hidden light to which the soul aspires when it utters the word God … Even the term God suffers from the limitations of definition.”
I love the idea of defining God in a personal, individualized way. What would happen if we all tried to relate to Judaism in this way, through experience and emotion rather than definitions?
The importance of individual experience is crucial. I went to a Jewish day school with the same ten friends from Kindergarten through 12th grade. But if you ask us what Judaism means to us, you’ll get ten different answers. There is no value judgment here, simply our own personal understanding of God, faith, practice, tradition, modernity, and identity. All of the aspects that make up being Jewish in the world today.
Whether through prayer, hiking a mountain, playing music, making art, or being around people you love, the individual pursuit of fulfillment can create a foundation for community. And that is why I love OneTable. Shabbat dinner is an opportunity for Judaism to speak to you, a setting for you to explore your relationship to something greater, something elevated. Shabbat is a time of intention, separation from the ordinary. The beauty of OneTable is that it empowers us to harness what makes us feel that “something greater,” and share it with others.
Welcome to OneTable. No matter your background, practice or interests, I look forward to finding something greater together on Friday night.