Reconstructionist Judaism Congregation Comes to Our City

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhonda Reese

New Community Formed.

There's one in Boca Raton. There's also one in Plantation, Miami, Sarasota and Punta Gorda. Now there's one in Jacksonville.

Rabbi Mona Decker is excited to be part of the newly formed Reconstructionist congregation Kehillah Chadashah, which means "A New Community." Decker, a Mandarin resident, said that for many people, Reconstructionist Judaism offers spirituality, a connection to Israel and an accepting and welcoming community.

Kehillah Chadashah gathers once a month, rotating among members' homes. Decker said a special event is being planned for people interested in learning more about the congregation. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, the congregation is inviting people to join them for Havdalah, dessert and a time of learning.

"Havdalah is a beautiful ceremony that marks the end of Shabbat and ushers in the new week," Decker said. "It marks the separation of a special day and re-entrance into the routine. We look forward to welcoming people that perhaps haven't been involved in a congregation in some time."

Decker said the newly formed congregation hopes the invitation will encourage people as time draws close to observe the High Holidays and the Jewish New Year.

Decker said that the Reconstructionist movement believes that Judaism is an ever-evolving civilization, reflecting changing dynamics in the community, the world and Judaism today.

"We respect our past and honor the traditions and rituals that have defined us as a people," Decker said. "Together we celebrate our heritage while being actively engaged in work to apply, restate and adapt it through our religion and culture in contemporary ways that are most meaningful to our members."

Decker said that during the past year, several people in the community approached her expressing interest in organizing a new Jewish congregation in Jacksonville. …