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Beyond Religion

As the very definition of Reconstructionism suggests, being religious is not the only way to be Jewish. For many people, a commitment to tikkun olam, to repairing the world, is a primary way they enact their Jewishness. Some devote themselves to the Jewish community, serving on the boards of local federations or JCCs. And others explore and express their Jewishness through cultural activities, a practice that Reconstructionism has long affirmed.

Many people also describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Reconstructionism embraces and celebrates spirituality—the seeking of a sense of awe in the world around us and connection to something larger than ourselves. These are deeply authentic Jewish aspirations, even if they were largely absent from how Judaism was presented to most of us in our childhoods or even adulthoods.

At the same time, we urge engagement with Jewish religion and Jewish community as part of a spiritual path so that it can be a corrective to the overwhelming individualism of our day. A religious perspective invites us to ask ultimate questions and presumes that the answers are more than individual answers.  They are moderated and interpreted through community. 

This is community that is both horizontal—all the people we encounter every day, in real and virtual settings—and vertical—our ancestors—biological and chosen—who came before us, our children—biological and chosen—who will follow.  A progressive religious perspective presumes that the community and its answers are constantly evolving—and that these changes can be good, they can be infused with the divine.

The Reconstructionist Network