Recharg­ing Judaism: How Civic Engage­ment is Good for Syn­a­gogues, Jews, and America

March 29, 2018

Recharg­ing Judaism calls Amer­i­can syn­a­gogues to take insti­tu­tion­al stands on social jus­tice issues, explain­ing why this is appro­pri­ate with Jew­ish texts, and show­ing how to imple­ment change with help­ful frameworks.

Con­gre­ga­tion­al board mem­bers, social jus­tice com­mit­tees, vol­un­teers, and cler­gy will appre­ci­ate the unique per­spec­tive of the rab­bi and lay leader team of authors. Schindler and Seldin-Cohen address four com­plaints often heard when syn­a­gogues embark on their civic engage­ment jour­neys and offer prag­mat­ic guides for avoid­ing divi­sive­ness and achiev­ing mean­ing­ful goals. In this book they share insights from 50 inter­views they con­duct­ed with oth­er cler­gy and lay lead­ers across the country.

Top­i­cal issues such as refugees, gun vio­lence, food jus­tice, aging, racial jus­tice, and many oth­ers per­me­ate the nar­ra­tive. Cau­tion­ary tales, guest essays, and oth­er bonus mate­r­i­al enrich the read­er’s under­stand­ing. Using lan­guage that speaks to both those out­side and inside syn­a­gogue life, the book inspires and guides Jews and Jew­ish insti­tu­tions to address the chal­lenges fac­ing this coun­try today.

Discussion Questions

Recharg­ing Judaism is an ide­al tool for Jew­ish lead­ers, edu­ca­tors, and any­one inter­est­ed in engag­ing in pos­i­tive social action that is deeply root­ed in Jew­ish val­ues. It is a fan­tas­tic primer on how to become involved in social caus­es and how to make a dif­fer­ence. It is also a prac­ti­cal guide for syn­a­gogue lead­ers to infus­ing social action into all areas of Jew­ish life in ways that will inspire peo­ple to new lev­els of Jew­ish pas­sion and con­nec­tion. Final­ly, this book pro­vides a trea­sury of pro­found Jew­ish texts, as well as the authors’ insight­ful inter­pre­ta­tions that breathe new life and mean­ing into each one.