STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

These are the Statement of Principles of

ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal and

OHALAH and

the Rabbinic Pastors Association.

FOUR WORLDS, TEN MIDDOT, ONE COVENANT:

Keter

Continually in motion, constantly unfolding, emerging from Source, returning to Source…

1. We are open to the Sacred in all of existence

2. We seek to renew the Jewish spiritual path in all four worlds

3. so that Judaism can play its part in the healing and balancing of life on this planet

The Nature of the Paths: The World of Atzilut

4. Meditation on God

5. the Human-Divine partnership

6. the transformation of consciousness through the emerging Feminine

Where We Look for Guidance and Inspiration: The World of B’ri’ah

7. The sacred texts of our people and the inspiration of living teachers

8. Other spiritual traditions

The Field that Holds: The World of Y’tzirah

9. The creation of a safe and inclusive environment

The Nature of Acting: The World of Assiyah

10. Global healing through power balancing

ALEPH STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

FOUR WORLDS, TEN MIDDOT, ONE COVENANT:

Keter

Continually in motion, constantly unfolding, emerging from Source, returning to Source, passing from Chochmah through Malchut and from Malchut to Chochmah, life is forever birthing and dying, balancing and re-balancing. In outlining our principles, we acknowledge that each reverberates throughout the s’firot and the worlds, merging and dividing, each distinct yet containing all. In speaking as Jews, we acknowledge the humanness we share; while speaking of our particularity and love of Israel, we recognize our universality and the sacredness of all places on this planet. Continually in motion, constantly unfolding…

1. We of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal open ourselves to awareness of the sacred in all of existence.

2. We seek to renew Jewish paths of prayer and meditation, study, communal life, practice, and public action that embody this outlook.

3. In this time of paradigm shift, we commit ourselves to developing a vibrant, embodied and relevant spirituality through which Judaism can transform itself, much as our ancestors did at such moments in the past. Our goal is the continued viability of Judaism and the Jewish people in the service of tikkun olam – the healing and balancing of life on this planet, and tikkun ha-lev – the healing and balancing of the individual heart. We affirm principles and values that flow from the Four Worlds of Being (Atzilut), Knowing (B’ri’ah), Relating (Y’tzirah), and Doing (Assiyah).

The Nature of the Paths: The World of Atzilut

We commit ourselves to search for deeper and higher understanding of the spiritual core of our lives and of our cosmic purposes.

4. We meditate on that which our tradition experienced as God transcendent. We pray to experience being addressed by God in the present. We worship in ways that honor both our tradition and intuition.

5. We see the human spirit and the Divine as one evolving process that calls us to a partnership which includes the struggle inherent in our name of Yisra’el (Godwrestler) and the sacred task of “Gathering the Sparks.”

6. We open ourselves to the transformation of consciousness and action that derives from our living in a time when the Feminine is emerging.

Where We Look for Guidance and Inspiration: The World of B’ri’ah

7. We find wisdom and insight that emanate from Eternal truth and have great potential to aid human beings in their individual and collective quests for growth, empowerment, and healing, in the sacred texts and oral traditions of the Jewish people and in the writings of Jewish spiritual teachers of previous generations. We also find elements in what we have inherited that are historically limited and in need of re-interpretation or transcending. We study, teach, and make these texts and writings accessible to all those who wish to encounter them, wrestle with their content and meaning, and decide what to draw on and what to leave behind.

Primary among our guides to interpretation of Torah are the ancient prophets, the kabbalists of Tz’fat, and the Hassidim of Eastern Europe. Through their eyes, we learn how to more deeply interact with the sacred texts of the rabbinic tradition, including Talmud, Midrash, codes and responsa. We also draw on the wisdom of modern and critical scholarship, which adds insight and new perspectives to our study of philosophy and history. We approach all of the wisdom of the past as it is being transformed in the light of contemporary feminist spirituality, a variety of theological approaches, and our own direct experience of the Divine.

8. We recognize with joy that Judaism participates in a world-wide exploration of the spiritual and commit ourselves to be in conversation with other spiritual paths, sharing what we discover and incorporating what we learn. We believe that it is part of the Divine plan that different traditions each develop a special focus. We pledge to continue developing and practicing that which is especially Jewish while knowing that it is in the sharing that we all are fulfilled.

The Field that Holds: The World of Y’tzirah

9. We commit ourselves to a safe environment for spiritual growth in which what we are learning about the human psyche and spirit is honored, and through which we enable the self to embody the Presence in the following ways:

• We commit to fostering an empowered community at all ALEPH events.

• Our local communities will embody egalitarian and inclusive values, manifested in a variety of leadership and decision-making structures, ensuring that women and men are full and equal partners in every aspect of our communal Jewish life.

• We welcome and recognize the sanctity of every individual regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We recognize respectful and mutual expressions of adult human sexuality as potentially sacred expressions of love and therefore we strive to welcome a variety of constellations of intimate relationships and family forms including gay, lesbian, and heterosexual relationships as well as people choosing to be single.

• We reach out to all who seek but have not yet found a spiritual home in the Jewish community or a satisfying connection to the Jewish people and its traditions and teachings.

The Nature of Acting: The World of Assiyah

10. In order to heal the world, we seek the balancing of the power relationships among human beings and between humanity and all other species and aspects of the living Earth. To fulfill this commitment, which we view as integral to the connection between our spiritual values and our activity in the world, we –

• acknowledge that the task of all peoples in our time is learning to share the great unboundaried earth in peace and freedom;

• cultivate ahavat yisra’el, the love of our fellow Jews, and treat with respect other Jews and Jewish communities whose approaches to Jewish life differ from our own, especially when we feel compelled to publicly disagree with their statements or actions;

• embrace the return of part of the Jewish people to the land we love, hold sacred, and always longed for and support the State of Israel in its efforts to synthesize universal, democratic values with the particular need of our people for political independence;

• welcome with surprise and excitement the discovery that God’s will for our generations of Jews is to learn to live in the Land of Israel face to face with our cousins the children of Abraham and Hagar through Ishmael, supporting every effort to do so in mutual recognition of each other’s right to freedom, self-determination, security, and peace;

• support Jewishly vital, varied, and creative communities in other places throughout the world and participate in a continuous and open-hearted interchange among all these communities both through embodying these connections in our individual lives and in building the networks of our communities;

• treat with respect and an open-mind all who walk paths other than our own, even when we feel compelled to publicly disagree with their actions in the world;

• apply these values and principles, to the best of our ability, to the renewal and revitalization of our personal and communal ceremonies, liturgies, rituals, life-paths, spiritual practices, and our processes for collective decision-making and collective actions and will help in the formation of communities based on these values and principles.

Keter

Continually in motion, constantly unfolding, emerging from Source, returning to Source, passing from Chochmah through Malchut and from Malchut to Chochmah, life is forever birthing and dying, balancing and re-balancing. In outlining our principles, we acknowledge that each reverberates throughout the s’firot and the worlds, merging and dividing, each distinct yet containing all. In speaking as Jews, we acknowledge the humanness we share; while speaking of our particularity and love of Israel, we recognize our universality and the sacredness of all places on this planet. Continually in motion, constantly unfolding…