Looking for a joyful, creative, spiritual and relevant approach to Judaism?
Are you yearning for meaningful spirituality deeply rooted in Torah and tradition, Kabbalah and Hasidism, combined with a modern consciousness that is progressive, egalitarian and environmentally aware? Hoping for a diverse community that embraces singles, LGBTQ people, all ages, and interfaith families?
In Jewish Renewal, you are welcome…
… if you are Jewish but are not sure what that means.
… if you are not Jewish but something in you loves something about Judaism.
… if you have become disconnected from your Jewish roots, no matter how far back they may go.
… if you are struggling with your beliefs about God, religion, or prayer.
… if you are seeking spiritual nourishment or community, even though you may have followed other spiritual paths, Jewish or otherwise.
… whether or not you have synagogue affiliation, religious training, Hebrew knowledge, or experience in Judaism.
Jewish Renewal is a spiritual movement created by progressive Jews who seek to foster a personal connection to the Divine by infusing ancient Jewish wisdom with a modern, ethical, egalitarian and socially progressive consciousness.
Jewish Renewal is a phenomenon, not a denomination. It resembles Reform Judaism in some ways, Reconstructionism in other ways, and even Orthodoxy, especially Hasidism, in some important ways. But it is not a formal denomination, and has no formal hierarchy or structure. It is the ongoing creative project of several generations of Jews seeking to renew Judaism and bring its spiritual and ethical vitality into our lives and communities, and at the same time embrace a global vision of the role of all human beings and spiritual paths in the transformation of life on this precious planet.
Jewish Renewal is dedicated to revealing Judaism's inner spirit and nurturing the spiritual life of Jews. Jewish Renewal draws significant spiritual inspiration from the legacy of Jewish mystical and Hasidic traditions, which is expressed in the cultivation of traditional practices such as meditation, chanting, and davvenen and the study of traditional Kabbalistic and Hassidic sources to enhance both individual and communal practice.
Jewish Renewal is a “movement” in the sense of a wave in motion, a grassroots effort to discover the modern meaning of Judaism as a spiritual practice. Jewish-Renewalists see “renewal” as a process reaching beyond denominational boundaries and institutional structures, more similar to the multi-centered civil-rights or women's movements than to contemporary denominations. This renewal process is happening in Jewish music, liturgy, midrash, education, politics, and in synagogues as well as chavurot, and even in secular settings.
Jewish Renewal sees itself as transdenominational, a movement that transcends the boundaries of the various denominations. Its membership includes people who are active in the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Humanist, unaffiliated, and Orthodox worlds as well as many others whose only religious/spiritual affiliation is Renewal.
Jewish Renewal draws heavily on the thought of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l. This involves a loving critique of the limitations of traditional Rabbinic Judaism and a call to continue the ongoing renewal of Jewish life in our time, as the Talmudic rabbis did in theirs. In a deep way, Jewish Renewal is built on the idea that we live in a transformative moment in time, in which a new paradigm for spiritual life is being developed.
Jewish Renewal actively seeks a relationship with God, or that “Something More”, as the immanent reality that suffuses all creation and from time to time calls to us from beyond creation as well. This changes how we view the earth, the human race, the Jewish people, the relationship of human beings to the rest of creation - everything.
Jewish Renewal is neither halachic nor anti-halachic but “neo-halachic”. Just as Rabbinic Judaism involved transcending the halachah of Temple sacrifice, so Jewish Renewal seeks to go beyond the limitations of traditional Rabbinic Judaism to forge a new halachah in which Judaism is conscious of its place in an interconnected world. This new halachah, for instance, includes expansion of the practice of kashrut to include ecological and ethical criteria, a new exploration of the concept of work as it applies to both the personal and societal Shabbat, and re-examination of intimacy and intimate relationships.
Jewish Renewal has long been committed to a fully egalitarian approach to Jewish life and welcomes the public and creative input of those who were traditionally excluded from the process of forming the Jewish tradition.
In Jewish Renewal…
• women and men are fully equal and enjoy full participation in shaping the future of Judaism
• those who have often been marginalized in Jewish life are welcomed and honoured
• there is respect for and often learning from other spiritual paths
• people seek to heal the earth and society through taking action on peace, social justice, and ecological issues
• chant, meditation, dance, and drama are encouraged as ways of connecting with the Sacred
• people desire to embody wisdom rather than etherealize or intellectualize it
• people strive to personally connect with their own unique sense of God, holiness and the Sacred
Read this wonderful article on Jewish Renewal originally posted on the Velveteen Rabbi website by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, June 29, 2017
"Renewing Judaism happens everywhere.That's one of the things that was affirmed for David and me during the Listening Tour: the renewing of Judaism is, and always has been, bigger than any organization. And that's exactly how it should be. The renewing of Judaism is organic, and multifaceted, and it’s all over the place. Those of us who are ordained in the lineage of Reb Zalman z”l are obvious and visible stewards of that renewing. But the renewing of Judaism is so much bigger even than the growing community of clergy who self-identify as part of that lineage. ...continue reading on the ALEPH blog.
Origins of the Jewish Renewal Movement
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