What I Believe

As a religiously progressive Jew, and someone who believes in the importance of mixing Jewish customs with innovation, I prefer to be defined by what I believe in, and not what I choose to reject.

God is a lived experience. There is a God of the philosophers, the intellectuals and the historians. While I would never seek to denigrate other people’s understanding of the Divine, I have never had a need to understand God this way. I believe that there is an experience that is a part of us, and yet entirely beyond us. It is the source of everything in the universe, the source of transcendence, the source of life. I choose to call this “God”, because that word (for better and worse) best encompasses my understanding of the nature of reality. I have no problem with people who choose a different term, or who understand God in a different way. Holiness is not mutually exclusive.

Judaism is both the religion of the Jewish people, as well as the shared cultural folkways and history of the ancient Jewish family. I affirm as holy both the religious and cultural aspects of Jewish life, as both of these forces bring us into a sense of covenant with one another.

For Judaism to survive, it must innovate. We honor God and the Jewish tradition by recognizing and celebrating its innovative nature. Judaism has served as a national identity, a spiritual practice and a cultural framework, but always open to new ideas and ways of interpreting itself. We should not be afraid of the innovation that is built into the very framework of Jewish life.

My only rule is that you are in charge. Whether I am performing a wedding, leading a Shabbat weekend, or giving a presentation to your synagogue or school, I believe that you are in charge and that I have a responsibility to provide you with the best experience possible.