Q: Who was Reb Zalman?
A: Reb Zalman Shachter-Shalomi, ztz"l, was the "zaydie" of Jewish Renewal. It is in his lineage that Rabbi David received his semicha/rabbinic ordination. Here is an extensive remembrance to give you an idea of his wide-ranging life.
Q: What type of books will we be reading?
A: This series will offer us a multivocal introduction to Jewish Renewal from the mouths of its teachers and practitioners. Our first selection will be Jewish with Feeling by Reb Zalman himself. Future selections may include Jewish Renewal by R'Michael Lerner, Path of Blessing by R'Marcia Prager, Godwrestling by R'Arthur Waskow, and Roots in Heaven by R'Tirzah Firestone, as well as other titles by Reb Zalman.
Q: What are we reading for?
A: The books we read will serve to not only understand the plurality of expression that is Jewish Renewal, but also to help us understand our own relationship with Judaism as a spiritual practice and how to make this all a bit more ours.
Q: Does it matter if I don’t have time to read the whole book?
A: Read according to your interest. If you have the time to read the whole book, that’s great! If not, that’s totally okay too. We suggest scanning the table of contents and choosing a couple of chapters that appeal to you.
Q: Are there particular questions or ideas I should have in mind as I read?
A: Note the places that elicited a reaction from you, whether that was an excited “must underline” feeling or an aversive “scratch that noise” one. Also note when you think something like, “I didn’t know ‘Judaism’ said that,” or “that doesn’t sound Jewish.”
Q: Where can I find a copy of Jewish with Feeling? Is it available as an audiobook?
A: There are a dozen copies of the book in the Minuteman network of local libraries. There are also many used copies available on alibris for $1.99+ shipping. To our knowledge, this book isn’t available as an audiobook at this time.
Q: Where and when will we be meeting? How frequently will we meet?
A: We will be meeting in living rooms in Cambridge and Somerville on a (roughly) monthly basis on Sunday evenings. Email us for the month’s meeting location.
Q: Does it matter if I miss a meeting?
A: This is not a closed group! You are welcome to dip in as your time and interest allows. We will be asking for who’s in month-to-month, so we know what to plan for, space-wise.
Q: I haven’t been to an Asiyah event before. Is this for me?
A: Absolutely! Our goal is to offer different points of contact and interest to meet different styles and personalities. No prior knowledge or contact needed.