Off the Pulpit: Dinner Table Topic?


For years I have been asking students of various ages if they ever had a discussion about God around the dinner table. Once the smiles abate, I ask why not. The reasons are usually the same: everyone has different opinions; nobody really knows; what is there to say – you believe or you don’t.

Of course people have different opinions about almost everything. Of the three topics one is not supposed to discuss in polite company – sex, politics, and religion – the first two comprise most of our conversation and only the last is rarely mentioned. Yet what we think about where we came from, where we are going, whether we are children of God or creatures of happenstance – surely these are topics we should be discussing with each other and with our children?

Whatever your beliefs or doubts, the Jewish people were the ones who introduced the world’s greatest idea – that of one God – to the world. We should find a way to talk about it with one another and with our children. “And all your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of your children” (Isa. 54:13).

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.)

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