Review: Publishers Weekly
May 19 , 2022/Category

The future of American Judaism looks bright, contend rabbis Stanton and Spratt in their strong debut. The authors argue that the “seeds of a new Jewish awakening” lie with “those cast to the margins of the American Diaspora” because of their gender, sexual orientation, or race. Stanton and Spratt highlight historical reinventions of Judaism that created new options for religious affiliation while facilitating the continuity of tradition, such as when Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan officiated the first modern bat mitzvah and helped found one of the first Jewish community centers in the early 20th century. Emphasizing the importance of accepting marginalized Jewish people as part of this renewal, the authors tell the stories of such contemporary figures as rabbi Mike Moskowitz, whose stand against Jewish day schools’ expulsion of trans students cost him his job at a synagogue, and Eleyna Fugman, who created a Jewish leadership program to boost the voices of queer Jewish people and Jewish people of color. Stanton and Spratt only summarily address the obstacles that their inclusive definitions of Judaism face, such as the impact of the Israeli rabbinate’s position on the matter, but nonetheless, this nuanced portrait of the state of American Judaism proffers a cogent vision of how to revitalize the faith. This is a persuasive case to maintain a positive outlook on the future of Judaism. (Aug.) 

Read the article here.