Religion & Beliefs

Jews Are So Edgy and Religious

The NY Times has an article about Indie Jewish communities that’s very popular, and pretty interesting. WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 — There are no pews at Tikkun Leil Shabbat, no rabbis, no one with children or gray hair. Instead, one rainy … Read More

By / November 29, 2007
Jewcy loves trees! Please don't print!

The NY Times has an article about Indie Jewish communities that’s very popular, and pretty interesting.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 — There are no pews at Tikkun Leil Shabbat, no rabbis, no one with children or gray hair.


Instead, one rainy Friday night, the young worshipers sat in concentric circles in the basement of an office building, damp stragglers four deep against the walls. In the middle, Megan Brudney and Rob Levy played guitar, drums and sang, leading about 120 people through the full Shabbat liturgy in Hebrew.

Without a building and budget, Tikkun Leil Shabbat is one of the independent prayer groups, or minyanim, that Jews in their 20s and 30s have organized in the last five years in at least 27 cities around the country. They are challenging traditional Jewish notions of prayer, community and identity.

In places like Atlanta; Brookline, Mass.; Chico, Calif.; and Manhattan the minyanim have shrugged off what many participants see as the passive, rabbi-led worship of their parents’ generation to join services led by their peers, with music sung by all, and where the full Hebrew liturgy and full inclusion of men and women, gay or straight, seem to be equal priorities.

I think the best part of the article is a brief mention of an indie minyan in Denver, and the end of the article, which talks about a group that meets in Kansas City, MO.

The minyanim are noticing that some of their worshipers are getting older, and it is unclear how they might evolve as participants have children and move to the suburbs, said members and experts on the movement.

The answer may be found in the likes of Shabbat in the Hood, a minyan that draws 55 to 70 worshipers to peoples’ homes once a month in Leawood, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, Mo. Worshipers belong to local synagogues. This is “the soccer mom set,” with lots of children around, many of them encouraged to lead prayers, said Marla Brockman, the lay coordinator of the minyan.

“It has been a spiritual hit for our families,” Ms. Brockman said. “We were all looking to go back to Jewish summer camp — the ease of community, this feeling of ‘go ahead and try it, try a reading’ — and we found it.”

Full Story I just want to emphasize that you don’t have to live in NY, LA or Chicago to be a part of a strong and innovative Jewish community. You want to daven egalitarian, and hang out with non-for-profit workers, hip mamas, and a handful of corporate types? There are places for you outside the biggest communities. And same goes for people with kids. If you don’t want to live in Brooklyn, you don’t have to. But if you do, there’s always Brooklyn Jews.