Why Reform Matters…
using our freedom wisely
At Sinai, Moses received the Torah and handed it over to Joshua who handed it over to the elders who handed it over to the prophets who in turn handed it over to the men of the great assembly. The latter said three things: Be deliberate in judgment, raise up many disciples, and make a fence around the Torah.
— Pirkei Avot 1:1
“Reform Congregations and communities strive to ensure that their religious practices are unmistakably Jewish in style and substance. Though free to make their own decisions unencumbered by outside authority, Reform Jews do not define their Judaism as an all-new religion, lacking any real connection to Jewish tradition. On the contrary: Reform Judaism has tended to see itself as part and parcel with that tradition, a modern development of it and not a radical break with it.”
Mark Washofsky, Jewish Living: A Guide to Contemporary Reform Practice
WHY did the first Reformers feel the need to make revolutionary changes to Judaism?
WHAT new Jewish ideas and ceremonies did they create?
HOW has the Reform movement continued to evolve and change?
Join us for a year of considering why Reform matters.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 | 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Rabbi Samuel Stahl Lectureship
Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin**
“Davening with Miss Daisy.” The roots of American Reform Judaism are in classical Reform and the teachings of the Pittsburgh Platform. Certainly, Reform has evolved over the past 130 years. But, does classical Reform still have anything to teach us? What was good in classical Reform? Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, our guest lecturer, and a “traditional” Reform rabbi will lead a few rounds of “Give me that old time religion!” and speculate on the future of our movement.
March 29-31, 2019
Paper Midrash Project with Isaac & Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik*
Isaac & Rabbi Shawna Brynjegard-Bialik have a powerful one-two punch, bringing together contemporary art, pop culture, and scholarship in “Paper Midrash”—and they’ll be bringing it to San Antonio for programs and a hands-on papercutting workshop: studying text, cutting up comic books and making Midrash art.
December 14, 2018
Executive Director, URJ Greene Family Camp
How does time spent at summer camp impact one’s Jewish identity? Hear from one of the great veteran URJ camp directors about his life in Jewish camping and the impact of GFC. (GFC Shabbat)
Shabbat Shirah | January 18-20, 2019
Musician in Residence Elana Arian*
Elana Arian is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and recording artist who inspires communities across the country with her soulful music. She has collaborated with some of the leading voices in contemporary Jewish music, including Dan Nichols, Josh Nelson, Noah Aronson, and Debbie Friedman, z”l.
Elana will join us in our evening Shabbat Shirah worship as well as offer a Havdalah Concert and interact with our shlihei tzibbur (worship leaders), youth and music lovers throughout the weekend.
April 11-12, 2019
Rabbi Jonah Pesner*
Director of the Religious Action Center (RAC) for Reform Judaism
How have the Prophetic ideals of Tikkun Olam and social action evolved over time in the Reform Movement? What is our responsibility to partner in creating a just world in the 21st Century and beyond? Engage with RAC director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner to hear about the work of the Religious Action Center and how our voices matter.
* Brought to Temple Beth-El by the generosity of the Jean and Jesse Wulfe Religious Enhancement Fund.
** Brought to Temple Beth-El by the generosity of the Rabbi Samuel Stahl Lectureship Fund
OTHER KEY OFFERINGS…
Explore the evolution of the Reform prayer book, theology, and the 21st Century worship experience.