INTRODUCTION TO OUR RESOURCES
The Purpose of the Center for Jewish Alternatives
is to provide support and guidance for individuals and small groups alienated
from, or dissatisfied with, their local Jewish institutions. We hope that you
will use these resources: as an entry to the wealth of guidance and wisdom
contained in Jewish ethical and moral teachings; as a vehicle to become aware
of the wide range of options you have; and as encouragement to create
meaningful alternatives which incorporate Jewish ideals and values while
addressing your personal, professional and social concerns.
First some clarification is in order. While we have
delineated our consultation and resources into the areas of focus of our
programs, we recognize that there is substantial overlap between them; i.e., a
havurah might be formed to plan a joint bat mitzvah.
A group might also want to develop an educational program for their
children and include a Tzedakah component. A third group might want to form a
Havurah which becomes socially active on some domestic issue.
In the same way, some of the resources listed here
provide information in many of these categories, especially Tikkun and
socialaction.com and the books of Michael Strassfeld. They can be kept in mind
as resources for all program areas and options.
Ron has been a reader of Tikkun Magazine “A
Bimonthly Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics, Culture, & Society” and a
member of a Tikkun Study Group since 1990 and, from 2002 to 2005, was on the Tikkun Community
Leaders Committee. Over the years, articles have appeared in the magazine and
the website on family, housing, intermarriage, education, globalization, as
well as the conflict in Israel/Palestine so visitors to this site should
consider going to www.tikkun.org and, for an annual fee
of $10, be able to access articles in all the back issues. In addition, Michael Lerner, the
editor of Tikkun Magazine and the driving force of the Tikkun Community
has written a number of books about Judaism and social justice including “Spirit Matters”,
“Jewish Renewal”, “The Politics of Meaning”, “Healing Israel/Palestine”, with Cornel
West, “Jews & Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion and
Culture in America” and "The Left Hand of God.
We recently discovered
www.socialaction.com “An On-Line
Jewish Magazine Dedicated to Pursuing Justice, Building Community and Repairing
the World”. We continue to be amazed at the vast knowledge it has gathered in
one website – simply look at the hyperlink tabs on the top of its home page;
i.e., teachings, Jewish holidays, change makers, lifecycle events, issues,
resources, communities and curriculum. Socialaction.com is a project of
Jewish Family and Life
as are www.myjewishlearning.com,
Michael Strassfeld, Richard Siegel and
Sharon Strassfeld vigorously stimulated thinking about Judaism in 1973 with the
publication of “The Jewish Catalogue – a Do-It-Yourself Kit”.
This book arose out of the countercultural activity of the 60’s, the
Havurah movement, and was meant to be a guide or manual to the range of
contemporary Jewish life covering Jewish symbols, holidays and Jewish writings.
Michael’s next two books (with Sharon Strassfeld) were “The Second Jewish
Catalogue: Sources and Resources” (life cycle, study, prayer and the Arts – a
book that we cherish because on page 336 is a picture of the matzah cover
crocheted by our daughter Lesley and used at the Seder of our Alternate
Religious Community of Marblehead (MA), and "The Third Jewish Catalogue:
Creating Community (justice, Tzedakah, community, the Holocaust, intermarriage,
then he has written "Jewish Holidays and A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a
With that caveat in mind here are some suggestions of
useful resources. We welcome and invite you to e-mail us at
firstname.lastname@example.org your suggestions for additional resources that
others might find useful.