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Dorshei Tzedek: An Inclusive Jewish Community in Newton, MA

By Robert Dellamano

In 1968, with the opening of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, Reconstructionism was formally launched as the fourth American Jewish denomination alongside the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements. Reconstructionism emphasizes the importance of community in the lives of Jews and encourages members of a congregation not only to participate, but to lead. Followers strive to make ancient teachings and practices meaningful for modern life by honoring both tradition and creativity. Founded by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, a teacher at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York for over 40 years, the denomination seeks to create a meaningful Judaism for the modern era.

Congregation Dorshei Tzedek

Dorshei Tzedek, located in West Newton, MA, is a Reconstructionist Congregation dedicated to creating a caring and inclusive community by engaging with Jewish tradition, challenging that tradition where need be, and building on it in creative ways. Dorshei Tzedek means 'seekers of justice', and members actively seek meaningful spirituality, serious Jewish learning, and social justice. Reconstructionists understand the Torah as a sacred yet humanly created document, as well as a record of the Jewish people's encounter with the divine.

"We are a full-service Jewish congregation," expounds Rabbi Toba Spitzer, "with an educational program for preschool children through bar mitzvah, weekly Shabbat morning services, a once a month all-ages erev Shabbat service, and an array of adult education and other programming. Our members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, both Jewish and non-Jewish. We are an inclusive community and welcome a wide diversity of individuals and families, including LGBT folks, single parents, older members, young families, interfaith households, and people of all income levels."

Dorshei Tzedek values many aspects of traditional Jewish practice as spiritual and ethical disciplines, and encourages members to explore these practices both individually and communally. Dedicated to enhancing Jewish practice and learning in the lives of its members, Dorshei Tzedek emphasizes diversity, and welcomes all who share their commitment to seek justice for the poor and powerless in today's society, and to protect the natural environment. Finally, as a participatory congregation, Dorshei Tzedek encourages all members to take an active role in some aspect of congregational life, whether Shabbat services or playing on the softball team, working for social justice or attending the film club, engaging in adult learning or participating in our new hiking group. All are welcome! For more information, please visit www.dorsheitzedek.org.

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About The Author

Robert Dellamano received a B.S. in Biology from Southern Illinois University,...

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