OMER, Israel (JTA) – As Jews, we tend to pride ourselves on our tradition’s values and how we pass them on to future generations; values such as education, tzedakah, loving the stranger, pursuing justice and tikkun olam, “repair of the world.” But if you were to start a conversation today with a teenager, would you be ready to articulate Jewish values related to dating and sexuality?
Several such values can be gleaned straight from the Book of Ruth customarily read during the holiday of Shavuot, which begins this year on the evening of June 11. Best known for its embrace of Ruth as a convert to Judaism and its emphasis on loving-kindness, the Book of Ruth also includes interactions that have a potentially sexual cast to them. It is a text that names what it sees rather than sugarcoats. [Read more…]