Act | Reconstructing Judaism

ACT

For Reconstructionists, Judaism is not just a philosophy. Lived Jewish experience is at the core of Jewish peoplehood. Reconstructionists learn from traditional practice, adapting it to our era, so that we can:

  • Mark important moments in our lives

  • Create and share creative works of beauty and insight

  • Mark important moments in our lives

  • Imbue each week, and the seasons of each year, with meaning and consciousness

  • Pursue justice and compassion in all their forms

  • And expand the boundaries of community to welcome diversity of all kinds.

Creative Expression

Reconstructionism views Judaism not just as a religion, but as a civilization. Art, literature, music, theater, dance—each of these expressions of creativity is an important facet of a rich, dynamic Jewish civilization in dialogue with the world around us. 

Guitar being played
Guitar being played
Group of people robed in white with tallit, blowing shofar at protest
?<php print $imgalt;?>

Doing Justice

One of the most oft-quoted verses in the Bible proclaims, "Tzedek, tzedek tirdof - Justice, justice shall you pursue." (Deuteronomy 16:20) The Bible repeatedly calls upon us to care for widows, orphans, the downtrodden and the foreigner as required by justice, which is repeatedly tied to insights based on empathy: “You were slaves in Egypt.”

Inclusion

We welcome all into our communities regardless of ability, age, race, sexual orientation, family status or level of knowledge. Because we see ourselves as embodying a spark of the divine (b'tzelem Elohim, cf. Genesis 1:26), we understand that every person has infinite worth; therefore, no human being should be treated merely as an object, and we should always attempt to see the humanity in those we encounter.

 

Multiethnic group of girls from Camp JRF
Multiethnic group of girls from Camp JRF
Water being poured from a pitcher over baby's feet
?<php print $imgalt;?>

Life Cycle

Jewish rituals embody our ancestors’ understanding about God, the world, human relationships and the meaning of life, and they connect participants to the Jewish people and its story. In our time, people turn to Jewish ritual, in part, because they want to be connected to the Jewish people and to Jewish history. There is meaning for us in being part of that chain of tradition (shalshelet hakabala.) Jewish rituals also provide an opportunity for us to express our concerns and hopes as we navigation life's transitions.

Jewish Time: Shabbat and Holidays

There is no more prominent and frequent occurrence in the Jewish calendar than the weekly arrival of Shabbat. Along with the remaining six days of the week, Shabbat provides the basic rhythm of Jewish time. Six days of work, one day of rest: mundane, holy.

The Jewish calendar allows us to follow ancient rhythms that orient our lives in many subliminal ways. As we live in Jewish time we inevitably bring new interpretations to the understanding of the holiday cycle and the re-reading of Torah, but in doing so, we are also acted on by the sacred texts and practices that we encounter. 

closeup view of shabbat candlelighting
closeup view of shabbat candlelighting