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Reconstructionist Judaism

Believing

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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.”

    Talking About God

    Reconstructionist Judaism offers ways of thinking about God that speak to many contemporary Jews. How can we relate to God as a force rather than a being? These resources explore Reconstructionist theology in depth.

    More on Reconstructionist Theology

    Exploration of God Beliefs: A Teen Program

    This pilot program for Jewish teen education provides several activities for exploring and sharing beliefs about God. 

    Document

    When You Say God, What Do You Mean?

    When we say “God” what do we mean? Ideas of God have changed dramatically over Jewish history. These Powerpoint slides explore some of that evolution. These slides accompanied Rabbi Maurice Harris’s talk from the Global Day of Jewish Learning, 2010.

    Document

    Changing the Equation: A Reflection On God

    Rabbi Toba Spitzer offers a reconceptualization of our image of God through the vehicle of process theology.

    Sermon

    Eco-Judaism (Is There Any Other Kind?!):  How Torah Pushes the Sustainability Envelope

    “Love of the Creator, and love of that which G!d has created, are finally one and the same,” wrote Martin Buber.  Defending this divine creation in an era of climate change is a Jewish (and social, political, and moral) imperative.

    Video

    Why We Need Process Theology

    What is “process theology”? Rabbi Toba Spitzer argues that it offers ways to think and talk about God that make sense in a modern scientific framework, that resonate with Jewish texts and traditions, and that promote wise and ethical behavior.

    Document

    Shavuot Theology

    How are we to understand the traditional claim that the Torah is divinely revealed? And what exactly is the Torah that was revealed? Rabbi Jacob Staub examines Reconstructionist theology through the lens of the holiday of Shavuot. This article is excerpted from the Guide to Jewish Practice. 

    Article

    Building a Personal Relationship with a Nonpersonal God

    Staub recounts his spiritual biography and offers ideas about how to build a personal relationship with God. 

    Article

    Rejecting Chosenness in Favor of Distinctiveness

    Waxman asks if it is “possible to believe that all people are created equal and to believe that Judaism is superior to other religions.”

    Article

    Reconstructionism, Chosenness, and the Abrahamic Dialogue

    Fuchs-Kreimer describes how respect for interfaith colleagues led her to re-examine Jewish beliefs she once dismissed out of hand. 

    Article

    Can a Reconstructionist Sin?

    Since Reconstructionist Judaism affirms a conception of God as a force, power or process — but not as a supernatural Being who can be addressed and can respond — what happens to the notion of sin? Rabbi Richard Hirsh argues that Reconstructionist theology makes it more, not less, important that we take on the responsibility for judgment, atonement, apology and repentance

    Article

    What's God Have to Do With It?

    How do we address life's tough questions from the Reconstructionst framework of a non-supernatural God? 

    Sermon

    Adonai-Elohim: The Two Faces of God

    When good people suffer, where is God? In this influential piece, Rabbi Harold Schulweis grapples with deep questions about God’s role in the world and in our lives. 

    Article

    The Intricacies of Consent

    An act of consent lies at the heart of the whole rabbinic Jewish enterprise. The rabbis understood the covenant at Sinai to be the foundational moment of the ongoing relationship between God and the Jewish people. In order for the covenant to be valid, Israel must have agreed to it.

    Article
    News and Blogs

    Is God to Blame When Bad Things Happen?

    When you stop believing that God is the cause of everything that happens to us, you don’t necessarily stop believing in the presence of the divine that infuses all things.

    News
    News and Blogs

    Where is God in This?

    Rabbi Jacob Staub brings Hasidic thought to bear on a contemporary spiritual question.

    News