What do you do with a group of teenagers to really show them what life was like prior to Abraham and Sarah? Well you show them pictures of idols and you have them build one. So there we were, myself and four teenagers, a tin of quick drying clay and pictures of idols. They bent the clay, twisted it into different forms, and rolled it into balls. The whole lesson had an end goal that would come into being in our next class together. Once the clay had hardened, once we had talked about what each of the idols meant and what it was for, we would smash them.
In order to form our faith, Abraham and Sarah had to break with their past. In the Midrash, the extra biblical stories that were not included in the Torah, when he was a boy Abraham (then Abram) takes on his father directly - smashing all the idols in his father’s shop and blaming it on the biggest idol. The rabbis imagined him taking on the king his well, battling the mighty Nimrod over the power of God. This is something teenagers can relate to. Every generation has to break with their past to make a new future. In the Jewish community we are currently facing one of those cultural shifts. Judaism is robust and adaptable. I’m not worried about Judaism. But I am worried about our teenagers finding their own way in. I’m looking forward to smashing idols with them in a few weeks and in the way they eventually lead our community into the future