Playlist Judaism: Making Choices for a Vital Future


book
by Kerry Olitzky. The Alban Institute, 2013.

Most of us experience up close the changing cultural context for religious life. What many of us lack is a comprehensive response. Rabbi Kerry Olitzky provides both a diagnosis and solution regarding the challenges Jewish institutions face, including the challenges faced by synagogues. His insights are bright and therefore shine light on possibilities for many religious communities beyond Jewish life. Rabbi Olitzky is the Executive Director of the Jewish Outreach Institute, the only national independent organization dedicated to bringing Judaism to interfaith families and the unaffiliated. He has been named as one of the 50 Leading Rabbis in North America by Newsweek. A primary theme is affirmation of a big tent Judaism. He consistently asserts that the Jewish tradition is more vibrant than any one expression. Rabbi Olitzky observes that the original need that synagogues met - establishing Jewish community - is no longer pressing. His proposal is that synagogues should turn themselves inside out. Reach out to the community. Become indispensable to those who are currently at the edge of the synagogue life. Reimagine how the synagogue can become essential to the existing community rather than exist as an insular, alternative community. Not all his suggestions will make your playbook. But if your faith community learns by considering creative, sometimes provocative ideas, this book is worth your time. Recommended for rabbis and their boards. Suggested for other congregational leaders who benefit from thinking that is reasonable and hopeful, a rare combination these days.

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