Lab/Shul is an everybody friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC, reaching the world.
THINK: Congregation for our current life blending the modern and traditional into a reimagined engaging experience.
Founded in 2012, Lab/Shul is dedicated to the creation and celebration of innovative and inclusive opportunities for contemplation, life cycle rituals, meaningful learning, community building and social change. Reaching a diverse audience of both engaged and lesser affiliated Jews of all backgrounds, ages and orientations, Lab/Shul leads the way in creating the congregation of the future.
IT STARTED ON STAGE. In 1999, Amichai Lau-Lavie, an Israeli educator and performance artist created Storahtelling, a Jewish Ritual Theater Company that pioneered replicable models for the integration of Jewish education and the performing arts. Storahtelling created multi-generational theatrical productions that re-imagined biblical stories and trained clergy and community leaders to become better storytellers and teachers. In 2004 Storahtelling began experimenting with alternative and creative worship events for Shabbat and Holidays. Over time, this approach became the main focus and the collective of artists evolved to become a community – and a congregation. Along with friends, supporters, community leaders and social activists we came together to co-create our next chapter: “Lab/Shul” – a laboratory for sacred Jewish experiences.
Lab/Shul fills a need for a sophisticated spiritual environment that embraces new social realities—updating Jewish rituals and narratives to serve as an inclusive, dynamic, relevant and progressive voice for the 21st Century.
In August 2013 Lab/Shul launched its first official season with an extended High Holidays Season, attended by over 4,000 people. Hundreds tuned in online to join us on Yom Kippur via web streaming. Regular programming continues through the year with monthly Shabbat morning worship events, special holiday programming, online learning webinars and young family experiences. Programs take place pop-up style all over NYC and attract a gradually growing and diverse community. Lab/Shul’s Board of Directors and professional staff generate income through the generous support of individual donors, foundations and revenue from the SeasonPass Program – our experimental membership program.
MEDIA BUZZ: Within months of Lab/Shul’s launch the media started paying attention, including coverage in The Forward, The Washington Post, Ha’aretz, NPR and CNN. In March 2014 the New York Times featured Lab/Shul in a front page article, praising the approach that is “bringing a message about counterculture…attractive to Jews disaffected from their tradition.”