Brooklyn Jews is a community of young Brooklynites looking to enter the Jewish conversation through art, text, politics, food, and ritual.
As an experimental community embedded within a brick and mortar synagogue, Congregation Beth Elohim, we push the limits of Jewish communal life. We affirm the values of progressive, egalitarian Judaism alongside secular culture, fostering Jewish involvement that reflects a Brooklyn lifestyle. Our community offers ritual and learning opportunities to everyone regardless of formal membership.
We are a progressive, egalitarian Jewish community. In practical ritual terms, you might imagine us as some kind of hybrid between Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist traditions. The bulk of our community comes from one of those denominations (as well as secular, Orthodox, and traditions other than Judaism), but we aren’t so interested in any of that. We are committed to a Judaism that meshes ritual and textual tradition with gender egalitarianism, engagement with social justice, and inclusivity of people who are not Jewish.
What’s more, we value the legitimacy and power of secular Jewish expression. For many Jews, it’s the cultural dimension of Judaism that feels especially resonant, and we wholeheartedly agree. Alongside our Shabbat and holiday services, we recognize our dinners, social gatherings, classes, service projects, political advocacy, and artistic events as constitutive dimensions of our Jewish life.
For more info, see Frequently Asked Questions
Our Relationship with CBE
Jewish life is changing more rapidly than existing Jewish institutions are prepared to address. CBE recognizes this reality. In the spirit of the congregation’s history of innovation, CBE hopes to experiment with Brooklyn Jews as an emergent community within the broader synagogue community. Brooklyn Jews is part of a family of other microcommunities within CBE (like Altshul, Shir L’Shabbat, and Shira BeShishi), in which members and non-members alike experience communal Jewish life.
Anyone who’d like to join formally is welcomed! But there is no presumption that Brooklyn Jews participants will at some point become members of CBE. Rather, CBE sees its future bound up in the successful experiments of Brooklyn Jews. Ultimately, CBE intends to offer its own congregants the best of what Brooklyn Jews cooks up. We hope that the CBE-Brooklyn Jews relationship is a model for other congregations looking to adapt to a new 21st century reality.