Blog  Asking How and Why: Exploring Science and Torah

Asking How and Why: Exploring Science and Torah

On Simchat Torah, we rejoice with the Torah and celebrate the completion of one cycle of Torah and the beginning of the next. Each year when we dive into the Torah we make new discoveries. Complexities in the stories and texts lead to endless interpretations of what the Torah can teach us. Similarly, when embarking in scientific exploration, each time you reexamine a sample, an ecosystem, or try an experiment you can be lead to new discoveries.

Camper Speaking at Services

Some might argue that religion and science contradict each other, but at Sci-Tech we see that in reality they complement and enhance each other. Although there are seeming contradictions in our religious texts and scientific findings, there are also parallels. Both science and Judaism are about asking questions. We never simply accept things as they are: we ask how, we ask why. In science we form hypotheses and ask how? How did modern species evolve over generations? How were our land masses divided into the continents that exist today? Judaism helps us answer the why. Why is our ecosystem the way it is? Why do we have a responsibility to protect our planet?

At Sci-Tech, camp is all about making discoveries and in order to make discoveries we explore and tackle these challenging questions. We ask questions such as “What does science teach us about Judaism and what does Judaism teach us about science?”

One way we explore these questions is through our Sci-Tech Torah. This unique Torah, written by the 6 Points Sci-Tech Community, weaves together texts from Genesis with facts that outline our modern understanding of the history of the world.

Some excerpts from the Sci-Tech Torah Include:

  1. “In the beginning God created…”

“About 14 Billion Years ago, the universe expanded from a single point. The Big Bang!”

  1. “And God created people in God’s image”

“200,000 years ago, human beings evolved from earlier species”

  1. “And Noah was 600 when God flooded the earth”

“The Great Mesopotamian Flood Happened in 3,500 BCE”

  1. “She drew water for his camels”

“Oldest camel bones found in Israel are from 940 BCE”

Each Shabbat we study from our Sci-Tech Torah, looking for both answer and new questions that arise as we examine how our Jewish texts and scientific facts build upon each other. For example, we ask:

How are humans the species we are today?

Because we have evolved into current Homo sapiens over thousands of years.

Why must we treat all humans equally?

Because all people were created in God’s image.

Science helps us understand the mechanisms of what is happening and Judaism guides us in what our responsibility is with that understanding. Our camp’s 5 core values of Connection, Curiosity, Discovery, Respect, and Patience are also written throughout our Torah, reminding us that these values enhance our appreciation for science and technology and guide how we live, learn and interact.

As you read the Torah this year, look at it through your scientific lenses, examining each line as if it’s a slide under the microscope. You never know what you’ll find! I look forward to learning with our Sci-Tech community during this next Torah cycle, uncovering Jewish teachings that can guide our interpretations scientific discoveries.

Author: rlandman

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