by Maya Barron
Jewish NewGround Alumnus, 2010
During the first NewGround retreat, we completed a “conflict styles” worksheet and I was somewhat surprised and very confused by my results. According to its rubric, I was categorized as equal parts “collaborator” and “avoider” during times of “calm” conflict. My initial reaction was total confusion at what seemed to be an essentially self-contradictory result. This actually brewed within me for quite some time because I completed the worksheet on Friday night and we didn’t examine and discuss them as a group until Saturday afternoon. When I finally voiced my confusing situation, expecting others to agree with me that my results made no sense, Aziza actually said that my particular combination meant I was a very thoughtful person. This was quite possibly the most validating and reassuring thing that anyone could have said to me.
by Maya Barron
Jewish NewGround Alumnus
Oddly enough, I leave NewGround with some fascinating factual knowledge and new ways of thinking about Judaism (my own religion) and its history. First, that Judaism grew out of a tribal historical context and all/most tribes saw their tribe as “chosen” based on their close, symbiotic relationship with their God. Judaism is simply the only tribal religion that has survived the Greco-Roman period. While this does not reconcile all of my issues with chosenness, I found this really interesting. Second (and fast-forwarding a bit), that under Christian imperial rule Jews couldn’t own land and Christians couldn’t charge interest on each other. So, Jews became bankers. Then, when Jews lent money to local leaders and the leaders didn’t want to pay them back, they opted to kick the Jews out instead. While this is clearly an oversimplified narrative, there is enough truth there to add another layer to my understanding of the historical origins of anti-semitism. Neither of these two facts are earth shattering, but I found both interesting enough to write down in my notebook.