Overdue or overdue? Two scholars hope to secure legacy of 'Jewish Renewal' - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (2023)

(JTA) — Rabbi Arthur Greengave the original addresslast week at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the top Conservative college where he was ordained 56 years ago.

His speech was largely a response to the political unrest in Israel, but he also called on the graduates to become pioneers of a "new Judaism."

"I had the good fortune, as a young seeker, to stumble upon the Jewish mystical tradition, particularly the writings of the early Hasidic masters," said Green, who has taught Jewish mysticism and Hasidic theology at Brandeis, the University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew College. . . “I have been working for half a century to articulate what might simply be called Judaism for adults living in freedom. I am now approaching the end of my creative career. But you are young only at the beginning of your life. We must involve you - as you can - in the work of generations, in the work of re-creating Judaism."

It is the language of Jewish renewal, with which Green, 82, deeply identifies. Restoration is not really a denomination, but a movement that arose out of and reflects the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Baby Boomer Jews, disillusioned with the large suburban synagogues they found lifeless, embraced a Jewish practice that was spiritual, egalitarian, environmentally conscious and largely folk.

Baby Boomer Jews, disenchanted with the large suburban synagogues they saw as lifeless, embraced a Jewish practice that was spiritual, egalitarian, environmentally conscious, and largely lay. An important institution of the Restoration was the havurah — intimate prayer, study, and social gatherings. Its soundtrack was liturgical tunes composed by a hippie, "neo-Hasidic" Orthodox rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach. And his rebbe - to the extent that the equality movement had a central figure - was Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924-2014), a refugee from Hitler's Europe and a former Lubavicher Hasid whose Judaism channeled the spiritual "New Age" in the 1970s. - them.

These ideas and approaches may be familiar to you even if you've never heard of "rehab." There is a rare synagogue that does not strive to provide a more intimate spiritual experience for its worshipers, to reduce the distance between the pulpit and the pew, to incorporate new Jewish music, and, in non-Orthodox and in some Modern Orthodox synagogues, to increase attendance of women in prayer and study.

Those rainbow-striped prayer shawls? That's itSchachter-Shalomi innovation.

(Video) Living or Dead? | J. C. Ryle | Christian Audiobook

How the counterculture movement was absorbed into the mainstream is the subject of work in the new collection, "The Future of American Judaism”, edited by Jerome Chanes and Mark Silk. Chanes co-authored, with Shaul Magid, a chapter on the "Revival," which he argues is one of the most influential, if not defining, Jewish movements of the past 50 years.

"Although Jewish Renewal never boasted a large membership, its influence on the larger American Jewish community was significant, in terms of its functional experimentation, ritual revision, and overall metaphysics," they write. "She also served as a permanent transmission of information and inspiration from her own past—the shack movement, radical politics, feminism—to the next generation."

I came to the paper after giving a lecture at my own synagogue on the subject of "Crisis of the American Synagogue." I talked about reducing participation rates,increase enrollment in secondary schools, the declining number of non-Orthodox synagogues. Most of my adult life was spent in synagogues, havurot and institutions under the strong influence of Renewal. If the Jewish renewal movement revitalized synagogue life in the last century, can it also be blamed for its struggles in this century?

Magid, an associate professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, and Chanes, an assistant professor of Jewish studies at Baruch College, presented their chapter at a book conference Tuesday and Wednesday at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Magid claimed—considered bold in this small gathering of Jewish historians—that “the three most important Jewish figures in 20th-century American Judaism” were Mordecai Kaplan, Menachem Mendel Schnerson, and Schachter-Shalomi.

Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, downplayed the supernatural element of Judaism and instead called it a "culture" defined by its people and culture. Schneerson, a Lubavitcher rebbe, turned the island's Orthodox sect into an outreach movement promoting the ritual practice among secular Jews.

Overdue or overdue? Two scholars hope to secure legacy of 'Jewish Renewal' - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (1)

(Video) The Triumph of the Man who Acts (Audiobook)

Rabbi Arthur Green delivers a keynote address at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Manhattan, May 18, 2023. (Courtesy of JTS)

Schachter-Shalomi combined their visions and envisioned a Judaism, Magid said, that "is no longer used as a tool for Jewish survival, but rather as a project for Jews to become part of the world community, to contribute to the world community." . Ecological consciousness became a feature of the Restoration, as well as absorbing the influence of other religions, especially Eastern religions. "He really took Schneerson's teaching about bringing Judaism to the streets and expanded it further to bring Judaism to the mosque, to bring Judaism to the monastery, to create another way of being Jewish that is not afraid of the world."

In an interview with Magid before the conference, I asked if he and Chanes might be overstating Renewal's influence.

"I'm sure there will be people looking for this case, but I don't think so, no," he said. Magid admits that few people consider themselves direct disciples of Schachter-Shalomi, but still, like Kaplan, his influence is felt everywhere. "Each of them had a futuristic vision," he said. "They were able to cultivate a way of thinking about Judaism that was ahead of its time and that ended up being created in many ways."

One of those who question Schachter-Shalomi's influence is Jonathan Sarna, professor of Jewish history at Brandeis, who gave the keynote address at the conference. In his response to the Renewal panel, Sarna doubted that Schachter-Shalomi had the same influence as Carlebach, conservative theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, or modern Orthodox philosopher Joseph Soloveitchik. "I don't think we should kid ourselves and think that every innovator is a new Moses," Sarna said.

Benjamin Steiner, visiting assistant professor of religion at Trinity, also questioned whether the Renewal had spread "throughout the country or just to large urban areas with a critical mass of educated Jewish students."

Listening to Magid's response to such warnings, I thought of a quote often attributed to music producer Brian Eno: "The Velvet Underground's first album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band." Renewal's influence extended beyond its founding core, as many of its directors went on to important positions in academia and Jewish organizations, including Green,Rabbi Everett Gendler,Sharon Strassfeld,John RuskayI am mocking Arthur Waskow.

(Video) Alternative 3 : How a Hoax Documentary Created a Conspiracy Cult

Small but influential Gen X and Millennial institutions also bear Renewal's imprints:"Jewish Emerging Network" of independent churches; Romemu and B'nai Jeshurun ​​synagogues in New York. traditional-style egalitarian yeshiva like Hadar.Bayit, with a number of leaders associated with ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal, is an online art collective and publisher of Jewish books, includingforthcoming Shabbat prayer book.

One of the contributors, ALEPH-ordained Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, claims that the influence of Renewal is felt even within Orthodoxy. "If you look at the Open Orthodoxy movement, if you look at the ordination of women to 'maharat' [by Yeshivat Maharat, a women's seminary], the future of women as rabbinical leaders in Orthodoxy is already here," he said.episode of the "Judaism Unbound" podcast.. "It's not everywhere, but one day it will be."

Magid and Chanes similarly argue that a number of leading Jewish feminists are products of Renewal—Paula Hyman, Eva Fogelman, and Judith Plaskow are mentioned—though some in the audience at Trinity insisted that Renewal gave too much credit to women's movement.In this essay in the book Silk/Chanes, Sylvia Barack Fishman ofBrandeis University offers a contrasting narrative of Jewish innovation over the past 50 years. In her chapter, she credits women's “active collaboration” in revitalizing American Jewry: Women's religious expressions, she writes, “create social contexts and are characterized by shared dynamics quite different from the isolated, individualized Jewish experience that some argue defines the modern Judaism. ."

I left with the belief that the Restoration had a huge impact on Jewish life, especially for baby boomers like myself. But I also wondered whether his comparative, extroverted Judaism failed to instill a sense of obligation to Jewish forms, institutions, and community – unlike Orthodoxy in all its flourishing manifestations today.

I asked Magid how the Renewal could have failed.

“Part of its failure is that it's very, very tied to a certain kind of American counterculture that no longer exists. It hasn't really entered phase 2.0," he said. "There are students and staff members who are still very attached to [Schachter-Shalom's] vision, and then there is the younger generation, Generation Z, who have read some of his work and they're influenced by it, but they're really thinking much more, how does this translate to post-counterculture America?'

Magid also believes that ideas of reconstruction will become more important as American Jewish attachment to Israel weakens and the living memory of the Holocaust recedes.

(Video) The Jewish Bookshelf from the Six Day War to the Yom Kippur War

If Rabbi Green's speech at the JTS graduation was any indication, the ideals of Jewish Renewal are still appealing.

"We need a new Judaism in America ... where we also have the fresh air needed to create it," he said. "How can we go about ... articulating a Jewish theology today that is both spiritually honest and spiritually rewarding?"

The audience of future Jewish leaders and teachers jumped to their feet.

Overdue or overdue? Two scholars hope to secure legacy of 'Jewish Renewal' - Jewish Telegraphic Agency (2)

Andrew Shilow-Carroll

(Video) The End of The 80s | Global Events 1985-1989

is editor-in-chief of the New York Jewish Week and editor-in-chief of Ideas for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of JTA or its parent company, 70 Faces Media.


What is a Jewish Renewal ceremony? ›

The term "Jewish Renewal" describes "a set of practices within Judaism that attempt to reinvigorate what it views as a moribund and uninspiring Judaism with mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices drawn from a variety of traditional and untraditional, Jewish and other, sources.

Who is the founder of Jewish Renewal? ›

Meshullam Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (28 August 1924 – 3 July 2014), commonly called "Reb Zalman" (full Hebrew name: Meshullam Zalman Hiyya ben Chaya Gittel veShlomo HaCohen), was one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement and an innovator in ecumenical dialogue. Boston University (M.A.)

What is the renewal of the marital promise? ›

A vow renewal is celebratory ceremony during which a married couple to reaffirms their commitment to one another. They are especially popular on milestone anniversaries (10, 25, or 50 years), but there's no rule that says you have to wait to have one.

How to convert to reform Judaism? ›

Typically, Reform Rabbis require prospective converts to take a course of study in Judaism, such as an "Introduction to Judaism" course, to participate in worship at a synagogue, and to live as a Jew (however that is interpreted by the individual Rabbi) for a period of time.

What is the difference between conservative and reform Judaism? ›

Reform has asserted the right of interpretation but it rejected the authority of legal tradition. Orthodoxy has clung fast to the principle of authority, but has in our own and recent generations rejected the right to any but minor interpretations. The Conservative view is that both are necessary for a living Judaism.

What does conservative Judaism believe? ›

Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America) is a Jewish religious movement, that regards the authority of Jewish law and tradition as emanating primarily from the assent of the people through the generations, more than from divine revelation.

What are the rules for renewing vows? ›

A vow renewal is not a second wedding. You're not legally getting married again, therefore there are absolutely no legalities for vow renewals. They are purely for you, your partner, and loved ones. That means that there are no rules like getting a marriage license, having a registered officiant, or witnesses.

Is renewing your vows the same as getting married? ›

A vow renewal is a ceremony of celebration and recommitment where a married couple reaffirms their marriage vows to each other. Because this isn't a legally binding ceremony, the way that a wedding ceremony is, there really aren't any hard-and-fast rules about how to renew your vows—the sky is the limit!

Do Jews renew their wedding vows? ›

A Kauai Jewish Vow Renewal is perfect at any time of year. Whether to celebrate a wedding anniversary, one of life's milestones, a birthday, or any special event, the Renewal of Vows ceremonies is an expression of enduring love. Invite family and friends to take part, or have it be just something for the two of you.

What are the three ceremonies in Judaism? ›

There are many different Jewish rituals for the different stages of life. For children there are three key rituals. These are Brit Milah , Simchat Bat , and Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah .


1. Lives in Limbo: Jewish Refugees in Portugal, 1940–1945
(Gresham College)
2. Life in Christ, Vol 6 | Charles H. Spurgeon | Christian Audiobook
(Aneko Press)
3. Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century | J. C. Ryle | Christian Audiobook (Part 1)
(Aneko Press)
4. October 1874 General Conference
(Historical General Conferences)
5. The Joint Session of Congress
(Trump White House Archived)
6. Why and How the GPU Murdered Leon Trotsky - Part 1 - Online Interview with David North
(World Socialist Web Site)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated: 08/06/2023

Views: 5679

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (57 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.