Their conversation included a discussion about the 50th anniversary of The Jewish Catalog, a book that emerged from the counterculture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The catalog provided resources for contemporary Jewish life, reflecting a desire for individual engagement with Judaism. It influenced the creation of CBST and a broader Jewish crafts movement, emphasizing DIY practices and community building.
Rabbi Kleinbaum and Rabbi Strassfeld looked at the idea that Judaism is about freedom, and that the 613 commandments provide guidance on how to live a life of freedom, breaking free from negative emotions and limitations.
The rabbis considered the concept of joy in Hasidism and how it promotes a positive outlook on the world and the potential for holiness in every moment and interaction. The goal is to cultivate a Judaism that is open, permeable, and relevant in today’s society, while also acknowledging the importance of Jewish texts and learning for a deeper engagement with the tradition.
As the conversation drew to an end, Rabbi Strassfeld and Rabbi Kleinbaum discussed the importance of community and the need for multiple valid expressions of Jewish identity. They also addressed the role of Judaism in addressing climate change and the need for meaningful and engaging synagogue experiences.
Learn more about CBST’s Aging Together group here.