While following a relatively uninteresting trail of research recently (which I won't retrace here), I happened upon Synagogue 3000 (S3K). This consortium of rabbis and other Jewish leaders is committed to offering "challenging and promising alternatives to traditional synagogue structures." They call themselves "Jewish Emergents," and their understanding of their mission is, in some ways, very similar to that of the Christian Emergent movement.

They are concerned, for example, with communicating authentic faith in a postmodern idiom, which has compelled them to move worship beyond the synagogue. So, they are meeting in homes, bars, and coffee houses, among other places. They are resurrecting some ancient practices, such as worshiping in Hebrew, while ignoring others. And they are reconsidering the qualifications for participation and leadership.

There are also significant differences between Jewish Emergents and Christian Emergents, of course. Along with Synagogue 3000, Jewish Emergents seem more concerned with updating the style and format of Jewish observation and worship than with questioning or reformulating orthodox Jewish theology. Also, while the Jewish Emergents are eager to reconcile younger non-practicing Jews to the faith, they are not concerned with proselytizing.

These differences (and others) highlight the single greatest difference between the groups (not counting the difference in religion): the Jewish Emergent movement is an institutional effort, not an anti-institutional rebellion. In that way, it may be more akin to the Anglican-sponsored emergent movement in the United Kingdom.

Not only are there superficial similarities between Christian and Jewish Emergents, the two groups are formally in conversation ...

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