Voices from a Facebook Conversation

October 2, 2012
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Below are excerpts from the August 2012 Facebook conversation that informed “Emergence Unbound,” by Shawn Landres (see his article here).

“Congregations are the most stable nonprofit institutions in America; [they] have been for 150 years. While synagogues have taken a hit recently, they’re still counted in that stability. I’m not advocating the status quo; synagogues have to change. But creating new models isn’t enough until and unless they become part of communal practice.”

– Rabbi Aaron Spiegel of Indianapolis, former board chair
and CEO of Synagogue 3000/Next Dor.

“Most people who participated in our Occupy Judaism services weren’t members of synagogues, though many who helped lead are members of an indie minyan. I think most weren’t daveners generally, because they were driven away from their shuls due to the cost, the interpersonal politics, and their politics on Israel. They came to us because it was free; it was an act of rebellion against the establishment from which they were alienated; they could bring their non-Jewish partners and kids; and they could fully be themselves, whether prog-[progressive], post-, anti-, or non-Zionist, and still be welcome into a community. It was the antithesis of everything synagogue-like they had experienced.”

– Daniel Sieradski, Founder of New York-based Occupy Judaism

“One of my arguments with Elie Kaunfer …was whether the more important shared principles were ideological or structural. I lobbied for the first, but the independent minyan conferences were really about the second. This meant a wide degree of ideological pluralism with a focus on shared structural elements. I’m still not sure that was the right choice.”       – Yehuda Kurtzer, co-founder of the Washington Square Minyan in Brookline, Mass.

“Unlike Yehuda, I do think the structural principles of independent minyanim are important; on the other hand, I never thought independent minyanim and “rabbi-led emergent” communities had all that much in common, other than when they started and what they’re not: not affiliated with denominations, not housed in their own buildings, and that’s not even true for all of them anyway.” – Ben Dreyfus, co-founder of Kol Zimrah in New York and an organizer of Minyan Segulah in Silver Spring, Md.

Join this conversation on https://www.facebook.com/JewishEmergent.

“Jewish Renewal itself is having this exact conversation, essentially wondering if it will die when the original leadership does. Some argue that we MUST be sustainable and some argue that the movement has done what it needed to do.” – Rabbi David Ingber, founder and spiritual director of Romemu in N.Y.

“The synagogue will have to demonstrate its ability to organize and meet the real spiritual and physical needs of a new generation that is practicing resilience and not just craving authenticity and meaning.” – Rabbi Shoshana Leis, co-rabbi of Congregation Har Shalom in Fort Collins, Colo.

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