Reconstructionism | Reconstructing Judaism

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Reconstruction­ism

Reconstructionists approach Judaism — and life — with deep consideration of the past and a passion to relate it to the present. In a rapidly changing world, Reconstructionist communities share and create new ways of being Jewish to connect us to the divine and ensure our lives are filled with purpose.

  • We view Judaism as the evolving civilization of the Jewish people in an ongoing relationship with God. Our shared culture — rituals, traditions and practices — reflect over 3,000 years of that evolution, and we continue to share and shape it today.

  • We break down the walls that divide us — demonstrating what it means to be Jewish today — standing up for justice and creating a better world for all.

  • We experience — and discover — God through our daily acts of ritual, creative expression and humanity, which leads to individual spiritual fulfillment.

  • We have originated many of the core innovations within American Judaism and lead efforts to make our community even more forward-thinking, inclusive and relevant.

  • We are committed to democratic practice in Jewish life and believe that people hold the right — and obligation — to reconstruct Judaism in order for it to remain relevant in our lives.

 

Belonging

The idea of Jewish peoplehood is central to Reconstructionism. Jews share binding ties that cut across differing practice, beliefs, and national boundaries, binding us together through a common history and shared destiny.

Believing

Reconstructionists hold diverse ideas about God, but we share an emphasis on Godliness—those hopes, beliefs, and values within us that impel us to work for a better world, that give us strength and solace in times of need, that challenge us to grow, and that deepen our joy in moments of celebration. Recognizing that all descriptions of God are metaphor, our prayerbooks offer images of God that go far beyond "king of the universe."

Resources on Reconstructionism

News and Blogs

Let's Journey Together

In an essay that appeared in Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., makes the case that Reconstructionist Judaism matters now more than ever.

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God in Metaphor: A Guide for the Perplexed

Rabbi Toba Spitzer explores the obstacles to prayer posed by stale language about God, and suggests new language that may ease our way in finding connection.

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News and Blogs

Gathering Together

As we continue to develop new ways to build community across time and distance, we must also continue to find ways to “be there” for one another.

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News and Blogs

Drawing Comfort from Community

Belonging connects us to something larger than our own individual experience. I belong to the Jewish people because claiming this connection enters me into a millennia-old conversation and joins me into community both vertical—all those who came before me and all those who follow—and horizontal—the Jews of today, in all our diversity.

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News and Blogs

Reconstructionist Communities Make Disability Inclusion a Top Priority

With a welcoming ethos and a drive to break down barriers, Reconstructionist congregations and havurot have been part of a revolution that’s taken place in the public awareness of the importance of disability inclusion and related services.

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Reclaiming Judaism After Centuries Underground

The small Italian village of Serrastretta has a hidden past: among its population are many families of anusim, hidden Jews whose ancestors were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Inquisition. Now, many locals are exploring their roots, thanks to new Reconstructionist affiliate Sinagoga Ner Tamid del Sud. While many are satisfied to understand the origins of mysterious family customs and learn about their ancestral heritage, some choose to fully embrace Judaism through conversion. Through a unique document of “Reclaiming Jewish Status”, this community has reconstructed standard conversion as a reclaiming of stolen Jewishness.

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News and Blogs

Reconstructing Judaism: Evolution in Action

Judaism as an “evolving civilization” has been a Reconstructionist catchphrase for decades. But as board chair Seth Rosen writes, a deeper understanding of evolutionary biology gives fresh insight on the path ahead.

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News and Blogs

Why Belong?

Why belong to the Jewish people? Why belong to a synagogue? Why belong to the Reconstructionist movement? These are some of the most important questions that I am asked and that I, along with all of us at Reconstructing Judaism, strive to answer powerfully and convincingly.

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News and Blogs

Does The Torah Require Us To Publicize Names Of Sexual Abusers?

What does Judaism teach us about how to respond to accusations of harassment or assault?

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News and Blogs

Reconstructionist Movement Updates

Though we count time Jewishly, by any consideration the secular year 2018 is an exciting year for the Reconstructionist movement.

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News and Blogs

Living the Mission: Values-Based Decision-Making and Reconstructing Judaism

The story of Temple Emmanuel’s ongoing exploration of Reconstructionist liturgy, and the rich conversations the process has opened up.

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News and Blogs

Keeping Judaism Alive Behind Prison Walls

Serving Jewish prisoners in state prison, rabbinic students find new perspectives on freedom and responsibility.

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"Where Was God?" - Lesson Plan On Natural Disasters and Parashat Noah

During disasters and their aftermaths, many people wonder about God’s role in their suffering. This lesson seeks to explore God’s role in tragedy from a Jewish Reconstructionist perspective. This lesson is intended for children ages 8-12.

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How Can Reconstructionists Pray?

How does a non-supernatural notion of God fit together with the practice of prayer? Rabbi Jacob Staub explores their intersection. 

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News and Blogs

Nothing Neutral About It: Inspired by Reconstructionist Judaism in Switzerland

Paul Piwnicki, a Polish-born, German-raised scientist and Jew-by-choice, credits Reconstructionist thought with helping him develop a personal theology and practice. Piwnicki’s story highlights the influence of Reconstructionist ideas and thinkers, even in countries lacking Reconstructionist congregations.

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