I don’t know if s3k has a ‘message for those Jews,’ but I am struck by the easy way we use words like commitment and responsibility without defining them. Then we add the concept of mitzvah which has wide ranging definitions based on movement affiliation (or lack thereof) and personal whim.
The word we use now at s3k is engagement. Part of the concept of engaging people is accepting them wherever they are in their Jewishness. We’re finding that many are very interested in their Jewishness but not in the confines or structures of past language. I’m not saying I agree with this, but we, the Jewish community, have created this skepticism. It may simply be semantics - or not so simply… but it’s very tied to language and expectations. We’re trying to find ways to connect Jews with Judaism that are accessible, authentic and meaningful. Stay tuned!
Rabbi Rami Shapiro weighs in, http://rabbirami.blogspot.com/2009/05/jewish-spirituality-survey.html
J.J. Goldberg’s take on the study from the Forward, http://forward.com/articles/104681/
Ed Case, InterFaithFamily.com comments on the study, http://www.interfaithfamily.com/blogs/Network/statistics/attracting-interfaith-families-through-jewish-spirituality/
Shmuel Rosner from the Jerusalem Post comments, http://forward.com/articles/104681/
Kudos to Tony, Doug Pagitt, and all the Christian emergent leaders for staying so principled in the midst of some nasty attacks. Most of what passes for interfaith dialogue is project sharing or watered down, ‘let’s make nice’ conversation. True interfaith dialogue honors the ‘other’ while staying honest to one’s beliefs. We really can share our experiences and our faiths - and be different!
Great analogies Ron, although I’m not sure I would agree that it’s harder to organize havuroth then bring people into the synagogue. Over 10 years ago the mainline church community embraced the small group movement as a way of revitalizing their congregations. Glenn McDonald, one of the gurus of the small group movement, created a church based on small group affiliation. So goes the success of the megachurches - they do their best to stear new members directly and immediately into some kind of sub community.
We could learn from their successes. Synagogues seem to focus on getting people in the door, i.e. programs like Synaplex. Our problem is that once we get them to show up we don’t know what to do with them. Perhaps, if synagogues had havuroth as a value rather then as a program, we could use these relationships as a revitalization method.
My rebbe used to say (ad nauseum, but it worked), “never instead of, always in addition to.” I think it’s great that Craig and S3K are in conversation with people outside our world. There’s so much to learn from the church community, and I don’t see that we have to compromise our Yiddishkeit in any way by engaging them. Quite the contrary, my experience in working with the church community has only strengthened my commitment to Judaism. While we might not agree theologically with folks like Warren and the Emergent community, itâ€™s hard to deny their dedication to tikkun â€“ even if it is misguided!