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Judaism is reviving

Yair Lapid (whom I used to meet every year at the reform movement's 'Lil Shavuot Revision') wrote a few years ago in his column "It is impossible to be secular - a real secular, an apostate properly without trying to get to know Judaism. Otherwise it is not secularism but just ignorance." Arguments of this type were the catalyst for the creation of the Jewish renewal movement which draws inspiration from the Jews of the Enlightenment period and in essence offers a return to the Jewish bookcase with a pluralistic interpretation centered on man and his inner experience. The first secular midrash houses were 'Oranim' and 'Elul' which were opened in 1989. But the big breakthrough came in the nineties and even more so after the crisis of Rabin's murder or when midrash schools were opened all over the country, books and magazines on the subject began to appear. Little by little, cultural events emerged such as the 'HaKhal' festival in Ramat Ha'Pal, 'Bina' was established and following it the secular Yeshiva. And in recent years, pluralist houses of worship have also been established, such as the 'Israeli House of Prayer' in Tel Aviv, the Nigun Halab congregation in Hillel, which began holding Shabbat Kabalahs.

What all these organizations have in common is the perception of Judaism as a culture, and from this derives the whole attitude towards it, and as Micah Goodman once said at the 'Not in Heaven' festival (which is also one of the products of that cultural revolution): "Since we have created a nation here, I have a new motivation for studying Torah and it is not Religious but patriotic. Just as the British intellectual is curious about Shakespeare and the work of his people, it is fitting that the Jewish intellectual be curious about the work of his people." The criticism of the movement is that it is still marginal and constitutes an elitist minority (whose teachers are mostly people who have left the religious world). Yair Shelag, who wrote a book on the subject called 'Transitions from an old to a new Jew', also points out the differences and the approach of Talmud learners: "For religious people, the study of the Talmud focuses on halachic parts that provide an introduction to the practical duties of the Jewish person and also a need for intellectual - analytical, quasi-legal study. On the other hand, midrash schools The secular ones focus precisely on those parts that the religious ones omit (or skim over) - the stories, the midrashim and the legends, since their concern is not with halacha or nonsense, but with getting to know the social, spiritual and psychological worldview embodied in the ancient texts." Along with the midrash houses and prayer houses, organizations have sprung up that offer conducting alternative life rituals such as 'Being'. In an interview I had with Nir Dagan, the founder of the organization a few years ago, he told me "I offer people who don't have rabbis in their world, something and someone who can understand them. The ceremony reflects their inner world and we celebrate this with a non-religious Jewish ceremony and in one word - this is a new Zionism." In this context, it is also worth noting the flourishing in recent years of 'Shavuot night fixes' in many cities that offer night discussions on various topics related to religion and society alongside music and art performances


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