Apr 27, 2010
Whereas as Orthodox Jews, we are dedicated to the proposition that God has placed us in this time and milieu to engage with the world and the predominant culture that we live in; and
Whereas to benefit from the best that the general culture has to offer, and at the same time to attempt to protect ourselves, young and old, from its pernicious and morally corrosive aspects, great care and selectivity must be constantly exercised during the course of such engagement;
The Rabbinical Council of America therefore resolves that:
• Our synagogues, schools, families and individuals find ways to come together and to openly discuss what limits and safeguards ought to be placed on their consumption of and engagement with our surrounding culture, in the spirit of an engaged and open modern Orthodox society that values our interaction with the secular world while being cognizant of the dangers that it poses and the terrible toll that it has taken on all too many of our people.
• We dedicate significant time and resources to promoting a greater emphasis in our synagogues and schools on making our traditions deeply and personally meaningful to our members and students. This includes actions such as a stress on making the prayer book come alive through a deep understanding of the meaning, structure and purpose of our tefillot (prayers); significant time spent on teaching taamei hamitzvot (the reasons for the Commandments) so that people will be able to relate to their ritual observance as more than just rote; creating chaburot (study groups) wherein people can regularly come together with Rabbis and educators to discuss issues that are, or ought to be, meaningful to them in making our tradition come alive; adapting the wealth of material that Jewish outreach professionals have developed in presenting Judaism to the non-observant to educate our own constituents, and, in general, to create a culture in which kedusha (spiritual sanctity) can be fostered in a way that is consistent with our hashkafot (world views) and principles of a modern engaged Jewry.