What Independent Minyanim Teach Us About the Next Generation of Jewish Communities
Thursday, Mar 29, 2007

Zeek, Thursday, March 29, 2007

by Ethan Tucker

In the last decade, a host of independent minyanim have sprung up in Jewish communities in North America and throughout the world. While the overall number of people involved in these minyanim remains a tiny percentage of the Jewish population at large, there is no denying that these emerging communities have already had an impact on the way Jews - in particular younger Jews - are thinking about Jewish communal life and commitment. Independent minyanim, diverse in their practices and religious assumptions, have initiated a structural revolution, rather than an ideological one. That structural revolution has included certain assumptions about what makes for a compelling Jewish life, how normative questions ought to be addressed, and what it means to empower individuals and communities to live out a religious vision. But a prayer community is ultimately only one slice of Jewish life. In this essay, I will examine the realities that produced these independent minyanim and propose a broader vision for extending this structural revolution so that it can have an impact on numerous other areas of Jewish life.

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Hadar is an educational institution that seeks to empower a generation of Jews to create and sustain vibrant, practicing, egalitarian communities of Torah learning, prayer, and service.