Values and Vision

Community

Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation is committed to building a participative, inclusive Jewish community. We depend upon shared leadership among a broad range of members and the active participation of all members in community life. Because community extends beyond formal group activities, we make a commitment to support each other in our efforts to integrate Jewish principles and practice into our daily lives.

Photo by Nancy Meadow

Photo by Nancy Meadow

In recognition of the diversity in both our members’ backgrounds and in their comfort with various Jewish practices and beliefs, we commit ourselves to inclusion and respect. Our services are pluralist and egalitarian. All events are accessible to people with disabilities. We welcome non-traditional households, Jews by choice, and families with non-Jewish members. It is our goal that all, regardless of background or knowledge level, have the opportunity to participate meaningfully in community life. Finally, we each agree to provide funds within our means so that economic hardship will not hinder participation.

Participation

Our congregation is a shared responsibility, and our efforts to meet that responsibility enrich our community. Our goal is to spread responsibility broadly across the membership, even when we hire professionals to assist the congregation with their talents and knowledge. Our intent is to channel members’ skills and interests and to give members an enriching and meaningful experience. The Board and other experienced members are available to assist members in determining how their skills and interests would best fit the congregation’s goals and to insure their success. The congregation believes that neither its governance nor its routine tasks are the prerogative of members who are expert in or observant of traditional religious practice.

Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

In keeping with Jewish teaching, we assume a fundamental responsibility to practice tikkun olam. In the context of the congregation, tikkun olam includes social action, tzedakah (material giving), and caring for the health of the planet. Tikkun olam also requires an appreciation for pluralism. Within klal yisrael (the Jewish community) this commitment involves respecting a wide range of Jewish practices and beliefs. Outside the Jewish community, tikkun olam requires that we reject chauvinism and bigotry.

Education

We actively educate ourselves and our children and support and encourage others in developing Jewish skills and knowledge.

Integrity and Innovation Within the Tradition

One of the core tenets of Reconstructionism is that “the past has a vote, not a veto.” We accept the responsibility and privilege of a creative dialogue with the beliefs and practices that we have inherited. We strive to balance a respect for traditional Jewish teachings with the responsibility to interpret them in the light of our contemporary values.

Financial Support

All members of the Congregation are expected to help meet our financial needs, but the degree of contribution is voluntary and based on one’s means.