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Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New…

Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the…

by Sidney Schwarz

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0787951749, Hardcover)

Finding a Spiritual Home promises to explain "how a new generation of Jews can transform the American synagogue." The book delivers on this promise by describing the lives of four thriving synagogues whose theological orientations range from Reform to Orthodox. Undoubtedly, Finding a Spiritual Home addresses some burning questions about the future of American Judaism: fully 35 percent of ethnic Jews no longer identify themselves with Judaism, author Sidney Schwarz writes. The book begins with a historical overview of synagogue life in America, then describes the spiritual needs that various generations of American Jews presently experience, and finally offers a prescription for regeneration of synagogue life.

Throughout the book, Schwarz's arguments expertly interweave narratives of individual and communal religious life, taken from the four synagogues in whose innovations Schwarz finds hope for American Judaism. These religious communities have attracted large numbers of worshipers with programs that seem both radical and commonsensical--"establishing public service opportunities such as a Jewish version of Habitat for Humanity," for instance, or encouraging worshipers to write their own prayer books. Schwarz carefully describes the impact such innovations have on synagogue members, citing interviews with worshipers whose enthusiasm jumps off the page: "The Judaism I live is about choosing life," one says. His book will likely inspire more American Jews to make that same choice. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:42 -0400)

In this illuminating look at Judaism's future, Rabbi Sidney Schwarz offers a penetrating analysis of the American Jewish community, challenging American synagogues to respond to a generation of seekers and satisfy the spiritual hunger of the "new American Jew." This groundbreaking book not only reveals the possibilities of this new, vital spiritual culture, but also offers strategies for transforming any congregation into a place that the Jews of today can truly call home.… (more)

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