Authentic and Dynamic Judaism
What is an Authentic and Dynamic Judaism?
We believe that it is incumbent upon the Jewish people to shape Judaism in every generation by grappling with traditional values and ideas within a contemporary context. The Talmud (Menachot 23b) tells the story of Moses watching God inscribe the Torah and asking the meaning of the crowns on some of the letters. God tells him to turn around and suddenly Moses finds himself in the beit midrash (academy) of Rabbi Akiva. There, Rabbi Akiva is explaining to his students the meaning of the crowns; Moses doesn’t understand his explanation until a student asks Rabbi Akiva how he knows this. Rabbi Akiva answers, because “Moses received the Torah at Sinai.” With that, Moses was satisfied.
The rabbis of the Talmud understood that their interpretations and their efforts to maintain the relevancy of Torah in their day, would be foreign to Moses and his generation. Yet, that never stopped them from applying the values and essential ideas of the Torah in ways they saw most meaningful for their generation. We, as they, are at times evolutionary and at other times revolutionary. “Elu v’elu divrei Elokim hayim — both are the words of the living God.”
Conservative Judaism is rooted in the wisdom gained at the intersection of heritage and progress. This balance allows Jews to lead truly fulfilled lives; and in an ever-evolving world, provides a message of compassion, enlightenment, and holiness to communities everywhere.
It is an authentic Judaism precisely because it is dynamic.
What does an authentic and dynamic Judaism mean to you?
We want to hear from you. Let us know your answer by emailing us at [email protected]. Responses can be submitted in any format (e.g. photo, video, social media post, article, etc.)
Submitted by Dana Sharon Winer
“Rabbi Leonard Gordon discusses how, to him, an authentic and dynamic Judaism means retaining tradition while responding to a changing world. ”Read full response
Submitted by Rabbi Leonard Gordon
Submitted by Eric Yanoff
Submitted by Sasha Bloch
“Ruth Messinger discusses how, to her, an authentic and dynamic Judaism means using faith to live a meaningful and purposeful life. ”Read full response
Submitted by Ruth Messinger
Submitted by Michele Rich
“Rabbi Bradley Artson discusses the importance of halakhah (the Jewish body of laws) in maintaining an authentic and dynamic Judaism. ”Read full response
Submitted by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Submitted by Zoe Grossman
“Authentic and dynamic Jewish leaders recognize that all people can make vital contributions to our synagogues and communities.”Read full response
Submitted by Jay Ruderman
Submitted by Sasha Bloch
USCJ is proud to partner with the below organizations to empower and advocate for an authentic and dynamic Judaism.