Shabbaton May 9-10: Judaism for the 21st Century

Dr. Lawrence Hoffman will bring his passion for the spiritual renewal of North American Judaism to our local area, as scholar-in-residence at a  shabbaton  co-hosted by Vassar Temple and Temple Beth El on Friday and Saturday May 9-10.  During the shabbaton we will have three opportunities to hear Rabbi Hoffman speak, and to explore the possibilities for a vital evolving Judaism in the 21st century.

    Friday night May 9, during the 7:30pm shabbat service at Vassar Temple, Dr. Hoffman will speak on “Builders, Baby-Boomers and Beyond: Looking for American Jewish Identity.”  Many believe that the American synagogue is in crisis. But before looking at where we go from here, we have to ask how we got where we are. Dr. Hoffman will help us develop an understanding of how American synagogues evolved, in order to gain insight into how our synagogues can be transformed to meet the needs of the next generation. The evening will conclude with an oneg shabbat featuring refreshments and an opportunity to socialize with one another and to meet Dr. Hoffman.

      The following morning, May 10 at 10am, during shabbat services held at Temple Beth El, Dr. Hoffman will  talk about “Authentic Jewish Spirituality—Even for Skeptics Who Think There Isn’t Any.”  Americans love to say, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” But there is an authentic Jewish spirituality, and it runs deep through Jewish texts and practice, constituting a distinctively Jewish way of being in the world.  Dr. Hoffman will explain how thoughtful Jewish spirituality can connect the dots in our lives and convince us that we matter.

     What will Judaism become as people search for meaning and community in the 21st century? The world is changing faster than anyone could have imagined a generation ago.   And Judaism has always had its revolutions, from the split into denominations to today’s profound changes in the American Jewish community, such as rising intermarriage and dimming ethnic memory.  The assumptions of the past just don’t hold true anymore.  We will explore these issues when  Dr .Hoffman  discusses “Limits, Truth, and Meaning- What’s Left of Judaism When all the Givens Fail” at the kiddush luncheon that  follows the service at 12:30pm.  This will be the concluding event of what promises to be an unforgettable, inspiring shabbaton.

        Dr. Lawrence Hoffman is widely recognized  as a prominent scholar and visionary  He was ordained as a rabbi in 1959, and since 1973  has taught liturgy, ritual and spirituality, theology, contemporary Jewish thought, synagogue leadership, and sacred music at  Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in NYC, becoming an often cited authority in all his fields.  In 1994, Dr. Hoffman co-founded Synagogue 2000, a project that envisioned the ideal synagogue as the moral and spiritual center for the 21st century.  And now, as Synagogue 3000, it has launched “ Next Dor”, a national initiative to engage Generation X and Generation Y   through strong community connections with transformed synagogues at the center.  Dr. Hoffman has written or edited over forty books, received two National Jewish Book Awards, and his articles, both popular and scholarly, have appeared in eight languages and on four continents. 

     The joint shabbaton on May 9-10 in Poughkeepsie, at which Dr. Hoffman will speak, is free and open to the community.  Anyone planning to attend the kiddush luncheon is asked to please RSVP to Temple Beth El at .  For more information about the event visit, and for further information about Dr. Lawrence Hoffman go to .


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