The greatest critique of modern Judaism came from within the ranks of Conservative Judaism. In his magnum opus, God in Search of Man, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel of the Jewish Theological Seminary wrote that
Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.
Sixty years ago, when Heschel penned these words, for many, Judaism had in fact turned into a relic. For Heschel’s contemporaries as for some of us today, millennia of wisdom and practice has turned into mere tradition, bereft of any deeper meaning or the ability to raise us up. It is our mission at Adath Israel to foster Jewish life that connects us with that which is eternal and bring meaning to our lives. Through prayer, learning, acts of chesed, as well as events big and small, Adath Israel plays an integral role in ensuring a vibrant Judaism– rooted in the past yet relevant for today – for you.