The Five Torot
We believe in truth, and humanity’s ability to discover it.
The pursuit of truth has always been the driving force behind advances in human understanding, from Socrates’ wanderings through the streets of Athens to the innovations of the Industrial Revolution. People of faith, who believe in a divine author of Creation, believe that the act of discovery is sacred, whether in the realm of philosophy, physics, economics, or the study of the human mind. The Jewish people in particular affirm that, beginning with the Revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai, God entrusted eternal teachings and values to us that we must cherish and study diligently above all else for they represent the terms of the special covenant that God made with us. All people, regardless of their faith background,should value the accumulation of knowledge because it is the way to truth, and a prerequisite to human growth.
We believe in applying our knowledge to impact the world around us.
Jewish thought asserts that truth is made available to human beings not simply so they can marvel at it, but so that they can use it. Students studying literature, computer science, law, psychology, or anything else, are expected to take what they learn and implement it within their own lives, and apply it to the real world around them. When people see a problem that needs addressing, their responsibility is to draw upon the truths they uncovered during their studies in finding a solution. They must live truth in the real world, not simply study it in the classroom.
We believe in the infinite worth of each and every human being.
Judaic tradition first introduced to the world the radical proposition that each individual is created in the divine image, and accordingly possesses incalculable worth and value. The unique talents and skills that each individual possesses are a reflection of this divine image, and it is therefore a sacred task to hone and develop them. The vast, expansive human diversity that results from this process is not a challenge, but a blessing. Each of us has our own path to greatness.
We believe in the responsibility to reach out to others in compassion.
Even as we recognize the opportunities of human diversity, Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of common obligations. In particular, every human being is given the same responsibility to use their unique gifts in the service of others; to care for our fellow human beings; to reach out to them in thoughtfulness, kindness and sensitivity, and form a connected community.
We believe that humanity’s purpose is to transform our world for the better and move history forward.
In Jewish thought, the concept of redemption represents the conviction that while we live in an imperfect world, we have a responsibility to strive towards its perfection. Regardless of a person’s personal convictions about whether social perfection is attainable or even definable, it is the act of working towards it which gives our life meaning and purpose. This common striving is an endeavor that brings all of humanity together. The Jewish people’s task to build up the land of Israel into an inspiring, model society represents this effort in microcosm. But it is part of a larger project that includes all of humankind. If the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, then redemption represents our responsibility to work together in the service of God to move history forward.