Can modern Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Humanist Jews
spirituality without denying the reality of everyday living?
Every concept of God, no matter how inspired,
is a human attempt to depict the ultimate foundation of
being. Our existence, and the outer and inner worlds that we experience,
bear witness to the fact that this foundation exists. Our history
demonstrates that spirituality, the search to know the foundation of
being, is so compelling to believers and nonbelievers alike that it
sometimes even takes precedence over basic necessities like food,
clothing, and shelter. Modern Jews, like Jews in all ages past, seek to
The Jewish heritage demands that every Jewish
community must bear witness to God. Likewise, every individual within the
Jewish community is directed to seek God. This search is so essential that
Jewish tradition posits that life itself may be at stake.
"For thus says the Lord to
the house of Israel, 'Seek me, and you shall live.'" (Amos 5:4) Nor
do Jews believe that only a handful of specially endowed individuals are
capable of finding God. Every individual, Judaism affirms, can find
God. "I love them that love Me, and those that seek Me earnestly shall
find Me." (Proverbs 8:17) In light of this, Judaism demands that the
striving for God should be a continuous process, not the work of a moment,
but the work of a lifetime.
Rossel goes beyond the simplistic notions that spirituality is
found only through ritual or only through righteous actions or tikkun
These are elements that enhance spirituality, but they are only partly the
basis for the kind of search demanded by the Jewish tradition.
reviewing the progress of Jewish ideology and theological inquiry, he
leads participants to an understanding of how and why liberal Judaism
evolved-- and why liberal Judaism provides the keys for modern spirituality
in a way that older forms of Jewish life simply cannot. He reminds us what
can be learned from earlier Jewish thinkers and movements, even as he
explores a new and more modern path through the spiritual forest.
come away from these lectures and workshops with renewed self-confidence, with the
knowledge that they are already on an authentic Jewish path, and with an eagerness to
wrestle with reality in order to find the meaning of God in their own
Spirituality calls us to
wrestle with every moment. Spirituality engenders our power to transcend
ourselves, to bring the Ever Present into the present, to wonder and to
adore, to fear and to tremble with fear, to overflow with causeless love,
and--out of an ineffable sense of the unity of all being--to be commanded
to do something. Spirituality commands us to enter this fray with
our entire beings, to become personally responsible for the welfare of the
community. What does it mean for a liberal Jew "to be
What does it mean to be
commanded to act in the image of God? What is the mysterious and ineffable
connection between spirituality and teshuvah? Are there
opportunities in our daily lives for us to create sanctuaries in our souls?
These and other questions deal with the process of becoming
into the World
Those who act in
God-like ways bring evidence of God's existence into the world. It is only
through the actions of those who are spiritual that God's existence is
demonstrated and God is magnified. The way for liberal Jews was paved by
Isaac Luria and Shabbetai Tzvi, by the Baal Shem Tov and Moses
Mendelssohn, but walking it means creating a new path. This session
provides a practical guide to forging a new spirituality.
Full-featured, multimedia presentations together
with participant handouts citing major Jewish texts.
Available formats: • seminar •
scholar-in-residence weekend • lecture or series of lectures • individual