What is Jewish Renewal?
Jewish renewal is a worldwide, transdenominational movement grounded in Judaism’s prophetic and mystical traditions.
Jewish renewal carries forward Judaism’s perpetual process of renewal.
Jewish renewal seeks to bring creativity, relevance, joy, and an all embracing awareness to spiritual practice, as a path to healing our hearts and finding balance and wholeness—tikkun halev.
Jewish renewal acts to fully include all Jews and to respect all peoples.
Where does Jewish Renewal come from?
Paradigm shifts in Judaism go back as far as the destruction of the Second Temple and the birth of the Rabbinic tradition that has evolved up to present time. The current phenomenon called Jewish renewal traces its roots to the Havurah movement, feminism, the civil rights movement, and other late 20th century phenomena, but primarily to the work of Rabbis Shlomo Carlebach (z'l) and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (z'l).
Is Jewish Renewal Orthodox Judaism? Reconstructionist? Reform ????
Jewish renewal is non-denominational Judaism. It honors the important and unique role of each denomination, but does not seek to become a denomination itself. Because of its emphasis on direct spiritual experience and mystical or Kabbalistic teachings, Jewish renewal is sometimes referred to as Neo-Hassidic or Four Worlds Judaism (a reference to the "four worlds" of Jewish mysticism). While we seek to restore the spiritual vitality characteristic of the Hassidic movement of pre-war Europe, we believe that Judaism is an evolving religious civilization.
Is this "New Age" Judaism?
Not really. Jewish Renewal is sometimes disparaged as "New Age" by people who don’t know that meditation, dance, chant, and mysticism have been present in Judaism throughout the ages and not, as some mistakenly believe, patched on to Judaism from other cultures or made up out of whole cloth. Sadly, some of our authentic, time-honored beliefs and practices have been lost to assimilation, leaving many contemporary Jews largely unaware of them. This is a major reason why so many spiritually sensitive Jews have sought spiritual expression in other faith traditions. It is an important part of Makom Shalom's mission to make the "hidden" treasures of Judaism known and accessible to these seekers.