On this week’s Seekers of Meaning Podcast, Rabbi Simeon J. “Shim” Maslin discusses his latest book, God for Grown-Ups: A Jewish Perspective.
No one, no matter how brilliant, saintly or charismatic, ever has or ever will prove the existence – or non-existence — of God. If the infinite God posited by Judaism since ancient times does, in fact, exist, then that God is by definition beyond human comprehension. And so this book does not attempt to prove the existence of God but rather takes an instinctual leap of faith, along with Moses, the Psalmists, Job, Maimonides and, yes, Albert Einstein, passing over the question of God’s existence and asking instead the questions that have fueled the authentic religious enterprise for more than a hundred generations: What can we know of God and what does God require of us? A religion for adults seeks to probe the meaning and purpose of life. The very same may be said of science. Both reject pious platitudes and seek truth. Albert Einstein phrased it very nicely: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” What the author seeks to do, honoring both religion and science, is to introduce the reader to a God for Grown-ups.
About the Guest
Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin has served in major rabbinic pulpits for half a century and as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Born in Boston, MA, Rabbi Maslin holds degrees from Harvard University (cum laude), the University of Pennsylvania, Hebrew Union College and Chicago Theological Seminary. Before college, he attended the high school of Yeshiva University and Boston’s Hebrew College.
Rabbi Maslin has served as rabbi in America’s oldest congregation, Mikve Israel of Curacao, the oldest congregation in midwest America, Chicago’s K.A.M. Temple, and the first Reform congregation in Philadelphia, Keneseth Israel. Since retirement, he has been serving as Hillel rabbi at Maine’s Bowdoin College and has lectured internationally for the World Union for Progressive Judaism. He has served as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and also as president of the Boards of Rabbis of both Chicago and Philadelphia.
He is a prolific writer, having authored three books, collaborated on several others, and written numerous articles for periodicals. His book of Bible essays, And Turn it Again, and his recent novel, Uncle Sol’s Women, have been widely acclaimed. His most recent book is God for Grown-ups. He and his wife Judith are the parents of three children, fourteen grandchildren, and two great-grandsons. They make their home in Philadelphia and the coast of Maine.