For many years, sociologists and Jewish pundits have been predicting the rise of Jews who defy denominational labels. And, they are here to stay! Often, the independent minyanim types tend to become the focus of study and observation. But they aren’t the only ones out there.
There’s another group of people who deserve equal attention. They are serious about their Judaism and they’re equally serious about not fitting into a box that someone else has defined for them. Unlike independent minyanim’ers, it isn’t that they necessarily reject denominations. It’s just that no single denomination can contain their eclecticism.
A friend of mine referred me to a recent TJJewfolk.com post by Nina Badzin, entitled The Rise of Reformadox Judaism. It’s a well-written, edgy piece that precisely captures this other group, which I sense is much larger numerically than the indie minyan crowd. (Full-disclosure-I know the author.)
I encourage you to read this post and the many comments that follow. As you do, you might want to think about some of the following questions: if you’re involved in a denominational synagogue, how do you keep someone like author engaged in your community? What appeal does membership have to someone like the author? And ultimately, what are the possible pros and cons to the Jewish community in general as we see more Ninas claim their place?
Rabbi Hayim Herring