Keeping a Promise and Tomorrow’s God: The Hebrew Lord in an Age of Science

By Judith Goldman

The Robert Goldman family – Bob z’l, Judy, 3 year-old Lita and 6-month-old Erica, came to Honolulu in 1972, to see if we’d like living here. Hawaii has much to offer a young family, but for us, finding a Jewish community was a priority. Fortunately, Congregation Sof Ma’arav was newly formed and had the same welcoming, “join us” … and “what would you like to do?” vibe that it has now. We brought with us some favorite activities from L.A. – one was inviting members to give drashes on the Shabbat Torah portion. Another was the monthly “Havdalah evening” in someone’s home, when lay people and local or visiting scholars shared their ideas on a topic of Jewish interest followed by discussion and dessert. At Havdalah evenings, for example Bob talked about Einstein’s understanding of God; Professor Irving Copi talked about Job; Professor Robert Littman talked about the ancient Hebrews through the lens of archaeology and ancient history. Lively exchanges of ideas were part of every event. Those opportunities to share and discuss his ideas contributed to the writing and publication of Bob’s first book in 1997: Einstein’s God: Albert Einstein’s Quest as a Scientist and as a Jew to Replace a Forsaken God. People still remember his discussions of olam which has multiple meanings such as “forever,” “eternity,” “remote past,” “distant future.” Its synonyms fill pages in a Hebrew-English lexicon. Bob saw connections among YHVH, olam, Einstein, Spinoza, the ancient Hebrews, Judaism and contemporary science.

Before he died in 2005, Bob completed a manuscript. His ideas aren’t for scholarly interest alone, but for understanding our complex world and dealing with it. I promised I would have it published. I had no idea how hard it would be or that it would take 14 years. What has been most gratifying is when people tell me he impacted their lives in a positive way – whether they knew Bob personally or knew him only through his writing.

If it’s your kind of book, let me know. (You can read excerpts on Amazon here) I’d be proud to give you a copy.

If you like it, please recommend it to others, write a review on Amazon. We’ll celebrate Bob and the publication at the oneg, Nov 2.