Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue and meeting the challenges of modern Judaism

Dome of Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
from Sixth & I Historic Synagogue website
When I accepted a position at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, a very unusual Jewish institution, I spent quite a bit of time explaining to colleagues just what it was that I was hired to do. Sixth & I belongs to no denomination. It houses Orthodox tefillot (prayer) and intermarriages in the same building. Its two rabbis are not from the same movements, and their job is to enable kinds of Judaism beyond their own limits (neither of us are Orthodox, and intermarriages are not performed in my brand of Judaism).

The organization also spends as much time serving as a headquarters for secular thought and music not necessarily connected to Judaism as it does serving religious life. My friends still have not fit all the pieces together, and question why I would choose such a place instead of a more traditional synagogue.

Wedding of Susan Silverman and Steven Berkowitz
at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue March, 2011
Photo from L.T. Silverman

In truth, I think my generation of rabbis is just different. (I was ordained in 2008, quite happily, by the Ziegler School in Los Angeles.) And a different sort of rabbi looks for an unusual home. -- Scott Perlo,* Washington Post

*Scott Perlo is a rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C.

To read more, click here.

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