Huge congratulations are in order for Yehuda Kurtzer who has been declared the winner of Charles Bronfman’s Brandeis contest.
“The Sacred Task of Rebuilding Jewish Memory”: Excerpt
Kurtzer’s proposal: “The Sacred Task of Rebuilding Jewish Memory” will be featured here shortly. Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect.
“In the Jewish world, I see this new claim on memory deeply manifest in the proliferation of emergent and independent spiritual communities, and more importantly in the massive reclamation of traditional Jewish text as the key anchor to Jewish growth and affiliation.
It seems now that the most effective vehicles of progressive Jewish dynamic vision are those anchored in the framework of memory, in the quest for mythical nostalgia, in the desire for what I call “new authenticity”…
Young Jews in their 20s and 30s – everyone’s most desired demographic – seek out independent prayer communities precisely because they don’t simplify the service or elaborate too much on a basic paradigm. American Jewish leadership is being transformed by institutions like Pardes in Israel, wherein traditional Jewish learning is cast as an invigorating means to seize authenticity, to enable Jews to stake a claim to and own their tradition.
What is most striking about all these institutions is that none entails a rejection of progressivism or radicalism. Many of them, by design or by accident, are extremely hip and cutting-edge…
This is again a powerful paradox: Rather than employing the language of newness and dissociation from antiquated old models, those models are being rehabilitated to convey that newness – that renaissance – much more effectively.”
To a Job Well Done
To Ariel Beery, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Anita Diamant, and Saul Singer– I greatly admire your efforts and look forward to hearing more from you in the near future.
Learn More about the Bronfman Big Idea Series
In the meantime, I am happy to welcome several new proposals from contest entrants and semi-finalists. The official contest may be over, but we’re still hard at work thinking about creative innovation for the Jewish community. You can always check out what is coming up next on the Bronfman Big Idea Series homepage here.
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