Archive for December, 2007

Synagogue consulting – toward the state of the field

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Our friends at STAR have published three new reports on synagogue consulting, a field that has grown tremendously over the past few years. We’re proud that the report highlights the impact of S3K alongside the Experiment in Congregational Education and the Alban Institute. Yasher koach to the STAR team for its important work in an under-studied, under-supported area of synagogue life.

Rabbi David Teutsch, a leader of the project, is a member of our S3K Synagogue Studies Academy, and his colleague Noga Newberg was the founding president of Kol Tzedek, a community represented in our Emergent Sacred Communities Working Group by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Hermann.

Tolle et lege….

The 2007 National Spiritual Communities Study [now sitting on its own page]

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

[As of 12/13, please check here for link updates.]

Over the past few years, we have seen an important new phenomenon in Jewish life: the creation of dozens of independent minyanim, spiritual communities, alternative worship services, and emergent congregations. This rich array adds diverse opportunities for worship, learning, social justice work, community-building and spiritual expression.

We knew very little about the thousands of people associated with these new endeavors. Who are they? What are their concerns? How do they feel about the communities they’re creating, joining, and building? Why do they participate?

To answer these questions, the S3K Synagogue Studies Institute, in collaboration with Mechon Hadar, conducted a survey designed by the prominent sociologist Steven M. Cohen in partnership with Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Shawn Landres. Our goal was to find out more about the participants, members, partners, and “acquaintances” of these new spiritual communities. The results of this work is the first ever portrait of the interests, values, and concerns of a critical innovative turn in American Judaism.

Please go here to download the report and related files.

To take part in Mechon Hadar‘s hosted discussion of the report and/or to suggest issues and questions for further analysis, please go here.

For links to coverage of the survey results, as well as additional blogposts related to both the results and the November 28 New York Times story by Neela Banerjee, please click here.

Emergent ~ yes, it’s happening among both Christians and Jews

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Responding to last week’s New York Times story, some commentators have been noting the parallels with the Emerging Church in the Christian world. See my article with emerging church expert Ryan Bolger, which appeared this summer in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (free abstract, institutional subscription required for full text; a shorter version also appeared in Sh’ma, but it’s not online). See also this Synablog roundup, this Theoblogy reflection, and these BolgBlog roundups (1, 2, 3, 4) from the January 2006 gathering of Jewish & Christian emergent leaders hosted by S3K and Emergent Village.

(For more from Synablog about Jewish Emergent, dating back to December 30th, 2005, click here.)

Socialized through Gregarious 42