The independent Jewish scene is all over the net this week!
- On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article about the independent minyan scene! This is my primary "meta-community" they're talking about here, and I know about half of the people quoted or referenced by name in the article. (I know even more who were interviewed but were cut for space.) I'm used to reading this exact kind of article all the time, but this is the first time I know of that it's somewhere like the Times rather than a Jewish newspaper or magazine.
BZ at Mah Rabu and Jewschool commenters have already said most of what I would have had to say about this article. In one sentence: The writer got a lot of nuance wrong, and I don't agree with some of the spin, but the article is mostly on target, and the press it provides is fantastic.
- Jewschool has been busy lately. A post there brought to my attention a Monday New Voices article about the "downfall" of Jews in the Woods.
JITW is/was a community that puts/put together a weekend retreat that has/had been happening once a semester for about 5 years. It's maybe 70% college students and 30% older twentysomethings. And there isn't one this semester. But I think it's just the ebb and flow of things that are college-based. The JITW that I went to four times in 2004-2007 was in some sense the second incarnation; the original one was a smaller group of friends and not some more widely-accessible event. I fully expect that JITW will rise again in its third incarnation after a break of a year or two, though I might not be a part of it so much. I'll have to decide whether I want to put my Jewish time and energy into building and participating in communities that are less college-focused. There's plenty of good stuff out there, after all, and much of it is JITW-inspired to some degree.
- And finally, the 2007 Emergent Jewish Communities study has been released! This is an academic-quality survey and study of participants in various independent Jewish communities, conducted by people who know what they're talking about. It's hot off the presses, and I haven't read it yet. Hopefully I'll be able to go through it and share my thoughts here this weekend.