Welcome to Lab/Shul, an artist-driven, everybody-friendly, God-optional, pop up, experimental community for sacred Jewish gatherings based in NYC and reaching the world.

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“People should not insist on being Jewish just to prevent Hitler’s victory…”

“People should not insist on being Jewish just to prevent Hitler’s victory –  rather, Jews can only feel and act Jewish if they find something in Judaism that deeply speaks to their here and now”  (Amichai Lau-Lavie)

LabShul-UNSCROLL-0098-937x1024This past weekend the Israeli paper Makor Rishon  (slightly right of center) published a series of articles about Jews in America. One of the main articles was about the innovations of Jewish spiritual life and cultural creativity all over the US. Lab/Shul and Amichai were two of the main highlights – alongside Rabbi Sharon Brous and Ikar in LA. 

The article examines innovations alongside the dire news of the recent Pew Report and other sociological studies that point at the decline in numbers, affiliation and engagement. Is Lab/Shul an unusual example of revival – or a trendsetter – or both?  Yair Sheleg, the journalist, ponders. 

“Lau-Lavie is convinced that this is where things are headed, at least for his congregation, which is new and is on the rise: I have no doubt that the direction we represent is stable and has a future. The Biblical commandment to teach our children and repeat the sacred truths does not mean that we replicate each notion in every generation – we evolve. Today’s so called religious Sabbath does not like the same Sabbath two or three generations ago. There are important issues we must contend with as we evolve: Feminism, LGBT, modernity.

Without this honest wrestling with progress and social change we have no future.

Rabbi Kook famously said: The old will be renewed and the new will become sacred.”

Here is a translation of the article: Multiple Pathways Judaism

Here’s the Hebrew version: Judaism on Multiple Tracks: Article in Hebrew

(Photo Credit: Jennifer Lee)