Yavneh: A Jewish Renewal Community

Yavneh is a Jewish Renewal community that welcomes everyone seeking to explore, renew, and experience the richness of the Jewish tradition.  Yavneh shares space with the UUFR, pays a monthly rent, and participates in some joint activities with UUFR. Yavneh, which was founded 12 years ago by Rabbi Raachel Jurovics, has about 50 member families.  Yavneh began being “hosted” by UUFR in mid-2019.  Previously, Yavneh met at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and from its beginning, planned to be “housed” in other churches.   More information about the Jewish Renewal movement can be found HERE. Yavneh’s website can be accessed at this link: Yavneh-Raleigh.

Jewish Renewal differs from the other branches of Judaism, but incorporates parts from all of them, including mysticism.  Jewish Renewal was founded after World War II, when so many Jewish people became distanced from their religion due to the atrocities of the war.  Renewal was developed to bring celebration, song, and dance back to Judaism, as well as being more egalitarian and less hierarchical.  Although Yavneh’s specific spiritual practices differ from UU practices, the values closely align with those of the UUFR. You may hear the comparison of  “Unitarianism is to Christianity as Renewal is to Judaism.”  Some Yavneh members participate in UUFR activities, particularly in the social justice arena. A member of the UUFR Board regularly attends monthly Yavneh Board meetings as a means of maintaining connections, and a Yavneh member is a liaison to UUFR’s Social Justice Council. UUFR and Yavneh have a combined ONE Wake team.

Yavneh is currently lay led, with some visiting clergy.  There are Shabbat worship services, usually alternating between Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, High Holy Day services (Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur), and celebrations of many of the Jewish holidays, all on zoom for the past two years.  Like UUFR, Yavneh is starting to have some of its activities in person.  To receive a weekly update of all Yavneh events, sign up for their mailing list at: Mailing List.

Yavneh is affiliated with the national Jewish Renewal organization called ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. For more information, see: ALEPH.

UUFR members are encouraged to learn more about Yavneh and are welcome to participate in their activities. For questions or for more information, contact Margie Sved, Board President, at [email protected], or the administrator we share, Lewis Copulsky.

By Paul Buescher

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