Dear friends at Temple Emanu-El,
It has been years since I was last with you, and much has happened in our world since then. Most of all,
it has become clear that we are in the midst of a quiet Jewish revolution, only the third such revolution in Jewish life.
The first revolution came when Greco-Roman culture threatened our biblical heritage with irrelevance; the result was rabbinic Judaism, the reason Judaism survived throughout the Middle Ages.
Rabbinic Judaism advanced the creative idea that tradition requires ongoing interpretation.
The second revolution followed the rise of science and modernity, which once again threatened the wisdom of the past with apparent irrelevance.
The result was denominational Judaism, including, first and foremost, Reform.
The third revolution is now! Many Reform congregations are thinking about the Once and Future Synagogue:
Judaism for the 21st Century. Here in your congregation we will turn our attention to the topic—
EMANU-EL TOMORROW: JEWISH LIFE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Temple Emanu-El is wisely embarking on a visionary process of determining how best to take advantage of its momentous opportunities. Please join me for a Shabbat of congregational conversation on the nature of today’s revolutionary changes and challenges.
Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman
Hebrew Union College, NY
Canadian-born Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman was ordained as a rabbi in 1969, received his Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught since then at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York.
Rabbi Hoffman has written or edited over 40 books, including My People’s Prayer Book, a 10-volume edition of the Siddur with modern commentaries. His Rethinking Synagogues: A New Vocabulary for Congregational Life and his Art of Public Prayer are widely used by churches and synagogues as guides to organizational visioning and liturgical renewal.
In 1994, he co-founded “Synagogue 2000,” a trans-denominational project to envision the ideal synagogue “as moral and spiritual center” for the 21st century. As “Synagogue 3000”, the project has launched Next Dor, a national initiative to engage the next generation through a relational approach featuring strong communities with transformed synagogues at their center.
On a personal TE-E note, as a mentor and special friend, Rabbi Hoffman installed Rabbi Landsberg as our congregation’s senior rabbi in 2001.