ReThinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life
Pollack, Audrey S., Shofar
ReThinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life, by Lawrence A. Hoffman. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006. 225 pp. $19.99.
At the beginning of the 21st century, congregational life has changed. Yet synagogue boards complain that they are having the same conversation over and over without change or an end in sight. ReThinking Synagogues challenges congregations to change the conversation from what we do to why we do it, from what works to what counts, from surface changes to building a deep foundation, and from adding on more programs to changing the structure to respond to the essence and meaning of why we are here as a synagogue community.
Rabbi Larry Hoffman, professor of Liturgy, Worship and Ritual at Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion, New York partnered with Ron Wolfson, Vice President and Director of the Whizin Center for the Jewish Future at the University of Judaism to create Synagogue 2000 (now 3000), an experiment in changing congregational culture. This book, and Ron Wolfson's book, The Spirituality of Welcoming: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Welcoming Community (Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006), are an outgrowth of Hoffman's work in congregations with the Synagogue 2000 program.
Hoffman's vision for the synagogue of the future is about "doing synagogue differently." He challenges lay leaders as well as Jewish professionals to effect congregational transformation, based on six tasks, or PISGAH - Prayer, Institutional Change, Study, Good Deeds, Ambience of the Sacred, and Healing. Synagogue 2000 insists that the synagogue has to be God-centered, a Sacred Community, meaning that everything - relationships, agenda, activities, debate - in a synagogue community has to be purposefully dedicated to the recognition of God's reality. It is a "conscious theologizing of synagogue life." Hoffman relates that this had enormous consequences because it insisted that Jewish gathering alone was not enough of a reason for synagogues to exist. …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: ReThinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life. Contributors: Pollack, Audrey S. - Author. Journal title: Shofar. Volume: 27. Issue: 1 Publication date: Fall 2008. Page number: 101+. © Not available. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.