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The Reconstructionist movement is the result of Kaplan’s lifelong effort to create a Judaism that could bring the culture, community, and spirituality of the Jewish people forward and make it meaningful in a world of science, reason, and cultural diversity. “A people can live,” Kaplan said, “as long as it can reconstruct its life to meet changing conditions.” Striking a balance between respect for tradition, and the recognition that in the modern world not all aspects of tradition are relevant or meaningful, Reconstructionism seeks to do what Kaplan felt the Jewish people have done throughout our history — re-examine and re-invent tradition to make it vital in a particular time and place.
Kaplan described Judaism as the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people, and he encouraged American Jews to live fully in two civilizations — the Jewish and the American. In practice this means respecting tradition — but having a willingness to modify it when that makes sense. It means working to preserve the Jewish “religious civilization” and to enhance it by borrowing the best of modern American civilization, as Kaplan did when he celebrated the world’s first bat mitzvah at the SAJ in 1922.
Come to the SAJ and experience our ongoing reconstruction of Judaism to mesh our desire for traditional observance with our 21st-century needs.
We’re very pleased to send each new member a free copy of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, by Rabbis Rebecca T. Alpert and Jacob J. Staub, published by the Reconstructionist Press.
To find out more about Reconstructionism, visit the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement.
Fri, 24 February 2017
28 Sh'vat 5777
welcome to the sAJ community
We’re a community that believes it’s possible to lead a 21st-century life that is deeply rooted in both Jewish tradition and contemporary civilization. Judaism helps us find meaning and inspiration as we seek to lead lives committed to spiritual growth, social justice, and building community. We welcome the richness that diversity brings to this community, where we learn about, struggle with, and even question our Judaism as we continue to "reconstruct" it for our times.
Upcoming Events at SAJ
Shabbat, Feb 25th 10:30a to 12:30p
Shabbat, Feb 25th 10:30a to 11:30a
Shabbat, Feb 25th 11:30a to 12:00p
With Special Guest Speaker/Teacher Tamara Fish Saturday, February 25, 2017, 11:30am (during services) Tamara Fish, scholar and writer, will speak and facilitate a discussion about race and the Jewish community. Tamara Fish is a New York City resident, a Jew of Color, and a former synagogue president. Ms. Fish has presented extensively about Jews of Color and her writings about race and Judaism recently appeared in The Forward.
Shabbat, Feb 25th 1:15p to 2:15p
Intertextuality—that every text reads every other text, was "discovered" in the twentieth century. The knowledge of this phenomenon, however, was known to Jewish scholars for at least the past millennium, and is most simply observed in the relationships that may be perceived between torah and haftorah. We will read such texts on each of these three Shabbats to discover and discuss the significance of textual correspondences. We will use some time for discussion in small groups led by Dolores DeLuise, a PhD and recently retired professor of English. She has lectured extensively, nationally and internationally, authored journal articles, textbooks, book chapters in anthologies, translations, and published a number of pieces of creative non-fiction. Dolores has been an SAJ member since 1982, has been Kallat Bereshit, and has taught frequently. Taught by SAJer Dolores DeLuise. This week, we will discuss Torah: Mishpatim / Haftarah -- Shabbat Shekalim / II Kings 12:1 - 12:17
Tuesday, Feb 28th 4:00p to 6:00p
Tuesday, Feb 28th 7:00p to 8:30p
Learn more about the new Makom Shabbaton program for grades 4-6. Bring questions and dreams.
Wednesday, Mar 1st 7:30p to 8:30p
Fair Trade Trio, a professional string trio that regularly performs around New York and The States to secure a place for classical music in society by fairly compensating musicians and seeking new ways to connect with audiences. Founding member and SAJer Ashley Windle (violinist) and founding board member and SAJer Jason Smoller (oboe), inspire their audiences with their talent. Tickets will be available at the SAJ door or on Eventbrite (see SAJ’s Facebook Page for link) General Admission—$25, Seniors—$20, Students—$15
Thursday, Mar 2nd 7:15p to 9:00p
We will look at some of the stories about King David and about King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and the use and abuse of power. Their stories also include the role of those willing to speak truth to power such as the prophets Nathan and Elijah. One session will focus on the role of those on the margins of society, for example, women and their own particular use of "power" despite the limitations of their marginality.
Friday, Mar 3rd 6:15p to 9:00p
Led by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann Shabbat is a time for community and joy, so we are introducing “Shabbat Kef” -- a time for SAJ members of all ages to get together and have fun! We will begin with Shabbat blessings and pizza dinner, followed by board games, hanging out and Rikudei Am (Israeli dancing) in the Social Hall. All ages and abilities most welcome!
Shabbat, Mar 4th 9:00a to 9:55a
Join Rabbi Lauren to learn more about a shabbat service--the order and format. Questions are welcome.
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Society for the Advancement of Judaism
15 West 86th Street, NYC 10024