Throughout our podcast series with eminent Jewish historian Jack Wertheimer, we have spoken about a Judaism of “peak moments.” This is the kind of Judaism most American Jews practice; connecting to their faith at a small number of important dates and life transitions: the High Holy Days, b’nai mitzvah, weddings, funerals. In this week’s podcast—the third and final episode in our series—our conversation focuses on the place where so many of these peak moments take place: the synagogue.

The liturgy and choreography of synagogue services—especially in the liberal denominations—are undergoing important changes. From hosting musical “rock shabbat” services to creating a more informal atmosphere in the sanctuary, shuls are working hard to engage congregants on a more regular basis. And the Orthodox are doing their part to reach out to the unengaged through a massive network of outreach organizations that draw in the non-Orthodox, even as they remain fastidiously observant of Jewish law.

Wertheimer and Tikvah’s Jonathan Silver discuss where these efforts have been successful and where they have failed, the goals of Orthodox outreach, and how committed Jews can do their part to secure the Jewish future.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as the original Broadway cast recording of Fiddler on the Roof and “Above the Ocean” by Evan MacDonald.

Subscribe to The Tikvah Podcast in iTunes (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in iTunes or by RSS feed.

Now become a Ricochet member for only $5.00 a month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

There is 1 comment.

  1. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    “Gimmick” Judaism, which Wertheimer promotes, is a commentary on the pervasive and over-powering influence of American culture on American Jewish life. “Rock Shabbat” — are you kidding me? I suppose that if, as Breitbart said, politics is downstream from culture, perhaps religious practice is, too.

    • #1
    • September 12, 2019, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • Like