That subject in response to the question that makes up the title of this film review:
“Yes,” of course, is an oversimplification. Inertia means that the structures and approaches we have now will not disappear, nor do so quickly. But creative and unorthodox approaches are likely going to form a significant part of how we grow Jewish life in the coming decades, because the traditional synagogue models aren’t working and aren’t engaging people.
What might the future look like? Outlier communities like those profiled in the film, but also cooperative communities like Kavana in Seattle, Ikar in LA, and The Kitchen in San Francisco. These are not only independent minyanim–which themselves are valuable–but are more full communities of Jews, with programming for all ages and ranges and with relational techniques and servant leadership applied to create engagement and self-investment by individuals in the communities.
They’re about doing Jewish, not just passively being Jewish. They make the revolutionary assumption that Jews–all Jews–actually are looking for something spiritual (whatever you take that to mean) in their lives.
They are outliers–outliers in their expectations of what Jews are interested in doing, in their views of what Jewish life can look like, and in what they are willing to provide to foster Jewish life for broad varieties of Jews.
Humanistic Judaism, too, can be part of this group of outliers; it’s not as though we aren’t already accustomed to that status. These new areas of growth appear, on the surface, to be about doctrine and belief, but they are not; they are about structure and approach, strategy and planning, and understanding how organizations can work for specific purposes.
These outliers are, I hope, the future.
People, go get some shades.