A Congregation of Learners

Read our journal of ideas, To Learn and To Teach
and other writings By Our Congregants

At Congregation Rodfei Zedek we are committed to enhancing the spiritual dimension of our modern lives.  We strive to be a learning congregation, developing our various interests and capabilities as Jews to advance our observance, celebration, study, and service to the community.  We are dedicated to:

  • Encouraging widespread involvement in many different forms of Jewish learning at many different levels;
  • Enabling and encouraging widespread participation in prayer and observance, respecting different orientations toward religious thought and practice and guided by the principles of Conservative Judaism;
  • Welcoming and serving a multi-generational community; and
  • Providing a setting that is particularly appreciative and supportive of young children and their families.

A learning congregation:  One successful approach to synagogue renewal in the United States is based on a Jewish concept of learning known as “torah lishmah,” study for it own sake.  Learning is seen as critical to synagogue revitalization because it is at the core of our identities as Jews.  Developed by the Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE), this approach of building “congregations of learners” maintains that for Jews, learning is more than an intellectual exercise; it engages our emotions and influences our actions.

A congregation of learners is more than a collection of individuals that happens to learn.  Learning will, inevitably, spill over into every other aspect of congregational life, changing people’s approach to prayer, to ethics, and to social justice.  Learning brings people together, creating the sense of community so many are seeking.  When members of a congregation have a common understanding that Jewish learning is for everyone, and when they are provided with a range of engaging and stimulating opportunities for learning, that congregation will have become a congregation of learners.

Many different forms of learning at many different levels:  While the study of Jewish texts is at the center of Jewish learning, a learning congregation offers a wide range of other opportunities that are not overtly educative but nonetheless oriented to involving congregants with Jewish culture, practice, languages, and traditions.  Jewish learning can take place in the kitchen as well as the classroom, the gymnasium as well as the sanctuary, at the art table as well as the study table.  Moreover, such learning must be tailored to the individual learner, meeting him or her, younger or older, at the levels appropriate and desired. Our programming includes congregational Y'mei Limmud.

For more information about our innovative educational programs, please contact Cantor Rachel Rosenberg at [email protected].