Visioning Initiative Weekend: Continue the Conversation

Our Visioning Initiative Weekend with Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman (click here for Friday’s sermon) provided a meaningful and scholarly foundation for our community to immerse in profound conversations that will transform and deepen the relationships we share.  

To engage in the Visioning Initiative, comment on what you experienced this weekend (thoughts to jog your memory, below), or contact Catherine Fischer ( to participate in a “Face to Face” conversation, or to sign up to be trained to initiate a Face to Face.  Choose 1 of 2 training sessions:  Wed., March 23, 12:30-2:00 pm (bring your own lunch) OR Thurs., March 24, 5:30-7:00 pm (snacks served).

Our experience with Rabbi Hoffman revealed that Judaism is about conversations.  Reflect and comment on these moments (or others) from this weekend:

FRIDAY NIGHT: Rabbi Hoffman’s sermon (click here to listen) explored the voices that have contributed to American Jewish life.  He focused on the impact of women in leadership, non-Jews and the next generation of young adults.  For non-Jews in a Jewish orbit and for young adults, passion for Judaism will not revolve around ethnic customs such as food or jokes, but spiritual meaning and profound conversation.

SATURDAY MORNING: At Torah Study, Rabbi Hoffman used The Book of Exodus’ concept of the tabernacle and sacrificial ritual as a springboard to discuss today’s ritual: prayer.  He examined the cognitive and mystical components of our prayers and suggested that even the law-centered rabbis were mystical; a story of the Talmudic Rabbi Akiba describes him reciting the Amidah prayer (which requires one to keep one’s feet stationary during the recitation) and ending up on the other side of the room!  Even Rabbi Akiba was swept up not only by the laws and intellect, but also by a mystical, heartfelt experience of prayer!  Rabbi Hoffman also explored the cultural backdrops that made Classical Reform meaningful in its day and Contemporary Reform meaningful in our own time. 

SUNDAY MORNING: Rabbi Hoffman described a medieval Judaism that fosuced on limits, an enlightened Judaism that focused on truth and a contemporary Judaism that focuses on meaning.  Reform Judaism, he said, works in the trenches of of modernity as it changes.  The trench used to be science.  Today, the trench is lonliness, separateness, and running through our appointments as if they own us.  The new trench and conversation is about meaning.