I have spent a lifetime doing and thinking deeply about biological science—I am an emeritus professor of cell biology at UC Berkeley. My wife Dorothy had been part of my team for decades when we decided to balance our lives together with something more spiritual. After going through various stages of Judaism, we found that modern orthodoxy, as represented by Beth Israel, best suited our needs. More recently, as we collaborated in writing scientific papers and correspondence, we have come to see during our time at CBI that science and religion are not so dissimilar. Implicit in both is the search for truth.
Facts and intuition play equal parts in biological research. The great complexity of living organisms means that some of their aspects are indeterminate, unable to be completely reduced to the least common denominator. There comes a point in research where you can no longer boil things down to molecular mechanics, and in that sense it’s not so different from what we’re seeking in Judaism, but in a different form—call it holism if you like. Maimonides says there are things we cannot know about the Creator, and we appreciate a congregation that is receptive to such thoughts. We attend a CBI study group that discusses modern Jewish philosophers. This keeps our minds on our goal, which, like Judaism and science, is to understand the basic foundations.
CBI provides a meeting place for people with diverse viewpoints, but who are open to listening and learning. It was refreshing when we discovered that science and religion can enhance each other in the search for truth. We will continue the search with our gifted Rabbi Cohen as teacher, and with the friendship of people around us at Beth Israel. Along the way comes the realization that life is good, and some days not so good, but every day proves there is a little bit of God in all of us.