As an attendee at Rabbi Ethan Tucker’s recent lecture at the Solomon Schechter school in New Milford and as a proud parent of a Hadar fellow, I must voice my support for the work of Rabbis Tucker, Elie Kaunfer and Shai Held, the founders of Mechon Hadar.

Our mission as Jews is to be an Or Lagoyim, a light unto the nations. We must engage in a lifelong search, through learning and rational discourse, for answers as to how our behavior will fulfill that mission without separating us from society as a whole or losing our unique Jewish identity within it.

The weakening of this sense of mission and the rising exclusionary attitude in the Jewish community and in our leadership is appalling, as is the troubling trend to emphasize ritual over ethics, as though the two can ever be separated in Jewish life.

The vision of Mechon Hadar is to reverse those trends, and gives hope to those of us who try to better understand who we are, and more important, who we are meant to be.