Congregational Democracy

Adapted from the Keddem Outlook, August 1999 (Av/Elul 5759)

Quoting from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) Web site: "Reconstructionist congregations and havurot operate with a substantial degree of autonomy. We expect that every affiliate will function in a democratic way, show concern for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, support the full equality of men and women, and be committed to and involved with Reconstructionism."1

In other articles, we addressed with some of these ideas; it's clear that Keddem's values and those of the JRF are very closely aligned. On the topic of democratic process, too, Keddem and the JRF are in step with each other.

Why must democratic process be a key part of any Reconstructionist congregation?

The "evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people," as Reconstructionism considers Judaism, requires that we all work together with understanding and knowledge. Change is not made by individual whim, but after consideration by the community.

It's important to understand that Reconstructionism is not about "do whatever you want!" Rather, it is our obligation as a community to consider the way our community will function.

From ritual matters to fundraising to Tikkun Olam projects, working together to make values-based decisions will strengthen us all, and build a Judaism that will be strong into the next century.

1 "Should your group affiliate with the Reconstrucvtionist movement?" at www.JRF.org/recon/affiliate.html.


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