From Reconstructionism to Renewal
Rabbi Richard Schachet, (zichrono liv’racha) moved to Las Vegas in 1993 and founded Valley Outreach Synagogue (renamed Congregation P’nai Tikvah in 2011). In June 2005, he announced his retirement, turning over the mantle of spiritual leadership of the congregation to Rabbi Yocheved Mintz.
Serving the Valley’s Jewish Community of Summerlin, Henderson, Green Valley, North Las Vegas, and greater Las Vegas, the congregation has close ties to both the Reconstructionist and Renewal movements—the only so-affiliated congregation in Nevada. Reconstructionism provides a progressive view of Judaism as an evolving civilization—a way of life rich with tradition, where the past has a vote, but not a veto. In addition, the Congregation is inspired by the emerging renewal movement, a trans-denominational and inclusive reinvigoration of modern Judaism, Jewish renewal endeavors to reinvigorate modern mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices. Renewal Judaism grew out of the P’nai Or Religious Fellowship founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 1962. ALEPH is the core institution of the Jewish Renewal movement, dedicated to the Jewish people’s sacred purpose of partnership with the Divine in the inseparable tasks of healing the world and healing our hearts.
Evolving and Relevant
For Reconstructionists, Judaism is more than Jewish religion; Judaism is the entire cultural legacy of the Jewish People. Religion is central; Jewish spiritual insights and religious teachings give meaning and purpose to our lives. Our creativity as Jews is expressed through art, music, language, drama, and literature. Our relationship with the land of Israel itself is an integral part of our Jewish culture. Each of these wonderful aspects provides a gateway into the Jewish experience that can enrich us and inspire us.
Community as a Cornerstone
While deeply connected to the historical experience of the Jewish people, a profound sense of belonging is found in our contemporary communities as well. This connection often leads to increased ritual observance and experimentation with the ritual rhythms of Jewish life. Meaning is enhanced by rediscovering the richness of traditional ritual and creating new observances which respond to our contemporary communal and personal cycles.
Reconstructionist Communities are characterized by their respect for such core values as democratic process, pluralism, and accessibility. In this way, they create participatory, inclusive, egalitarian communities committed to exploring Jewish life with dedication, warmth and enthusiasm.