Congregation Ner Shalom is a warm and inclusive Jewish community. Drawing from our Reconstructionist roots and the soulfulness of Jewish Renewal, we embrace Judaism through ritual, social justice, music, learning and laughter. Wander this website and find what speaks to you.
Ner Shalom is affiliated as a Reconstructionist synagogue. The Reconstructionist Movement, now called “Reconstructing Judaism”, was founded in 1955 by philosopher and theologian, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Reconstructionism is marked by a view of Judaism as an unfolding civilization, an insistence on non-anthropomorphic God language, a rejection of “chosenness”, and a deep engagement in social justice and equality. (The first bat mitzvah in America was that of Kaplan’s own daughter.) Take a look at Reconstructing Judaism’s mission statement in the video to the right!
Our ritual practice at Ner Shalom draws heavily from the insights and style of the Jewish Renewal Movement, with roots back to the 1960s, spearheaded and centralized by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in the 1990s. The Jewish Renewal Movement brings the spiritual practices and experiences of Kabbalah and Chasidism into the ritual engagement of modern, progressive Jews. At Ner Shalom, you will notice the use of niggunim (wordless melodies), Hebrew chants, meditation, visualization, joyous dance and other modalities for direct experience of the Divine during ritual. These are all the contributions of the Jewish Renewal Movement.