The Alliance for Enlightened Judaism
In the Image
In the Image is a creative think tank specializing in developing the “brand position” for Jewish religious groups and projects, as well as for inter-religious and other non-profit organizations:
Gateways (Orthodox Jewish). The Association for Progressive Judaism (Reform). The Center for Inter-religious Understanding. United Religions Initiative (URI). The Charlotte Congregationalist Church. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Communion & Liberation (Catholic). The Global Securities Institute (UN NGO), A Different Future, The Daisy Alliance, and many others.
In the Image is currently focusing on creating individual branding strategies and creative-campaigns to help revitalize contemporary synagogues, and drive up an enthusiastic membership.
Life Learning Partners
Life Learning Partners takes a unique approach toward helping synagogues. We set up “mini universities” which evolve the traditional Beit Knesset (House of Worship) model into a fun, exciting, educational-evocative Beit Midrash, a creative, contemporary House of Learning.
Life Learning Partners directly addresses educational challenges often faced by contemporary synagogues, especially in an era where well over 50% of congregants are inter-faith families.
Through Life Learning Partners, congregants can take courses that enhance their Jewish knowledge, as well as their scientific and general spiritual knowledge. These are taught through a unique “principle-based” method, more appropriate to contemporary minds. This method helps prevent Jews from living “two lives”, one secular, the other “religious” (i.e. two holidays a year)..
Currently, Life Learning Partners is working with a synagogue to create a unique program called Nights of Light. The Shabbat service has become transformed into an evening for intellectual engagement, arts and music. The Oneg Shabbat becomes even more “oneg”, pleasurable.
Through this innovative, educational “adjunct” to the synagogue, Life Learning Partners helps increase congregation participation, membership, and, consequently, funding. It also enables and energizes significant outreach to the community, especially to unaffiliated Jews and inter-faith couples, fostering inter-religious and community-action projects as well.
Creative Gatherings gathers creative writers, musicians, and artists to develop new, inspired liturgy, as well as special synagogue events. Synagogues become gathering places (That’s what “synagogue” means in Greek) that are fun, exciting, and “talked about”.
While traditional worship and synagogue events still capture the hearts of many, especially during days of awesome meaning and purpose, such as Yom Kippur – it is a great sadness that synagogues are near-empty on other days. This puts a sizeable burden on membership and, of course, fundraising.
“If one cannot compete with going to a movie, the synagogue will not survive.” This is the simple benchmark of our success. Do people want to – not have to – come!
Creative Gatherings manages an extensive Speakers and Talent Bureau, available to all participating synagogues and organizations.
Yes, the synagogue can be alive! Yes, it can be joyful!! It can become a Creative Gathering!
Blue House actively pursues and fosters effective and respectful relations between the congregants and leaders of all the world’s great and noble religions – in keeping with the vision of Isaiah (56:7): Mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.
Blue House has participated in and led bold efforts in inter-faith understanding: Bringing together Jews and Muslims, both African-American and Middle Eastern. Strengthening Catholic-Jewish relations. Fostering Jewish-evangelical-Christian respect and cooperation, and many others.
Our efforts have also included numerous inter-religious activities in Europe that help the memory of the Shoah alive. Our social action programs draw from this event to help guard against genocide in other areas of the world.
Blue House has worked extensively with the Center for Inter-religious Understanding, United Religions Initiative, The Coalition for Religious Freedom and many other groups.
Blue Star has developed a unique program to teach effective, Life-based spirituality. Indeed, it is Life-based spirituality that is the very foundation of religion; not the other way around.
These days, many people eschew religion; they particularly resist the rules and regulations, the worship “have to’s”. Instead, they are more interested in spirituality: a living, breathing relationship between their own inner life and the Larger Life outside themselves.
Blue Star teaches how to re-create one’s life in order to achieve GOOD. Achieving GOOD is the spiritual experience called “God”; after all, “God” is just a contraction of the word GOOD.
Blue Star teaches how to be “observant”, in a different way: One learns to observe, first hand, the natural spiritual laws that are the foundation of so-called ‘religion”. What behaviors produce GOOD? For yourself, and others. What practices produce GOOD? For your community, and the world. This is the experiential foundation of Torah, a word better translated as “Teaching” rather than “Law”.
Through spiritual experience first, and then proper “footnoting” of texts, the great legacy of Judaism can be re-taught with invigorated meaning - making ancient religious-thinking accessible and welcoming for contemporary minds. Making people want to be Jewish! (Not just their inheritance.)
Most recently, Blue Star has turned its gaze to Israel, where the vast majority of Jews are not religious. Sadly, there has not been an opportunity to teach authentic Jewish spirituality in Israel; this has driven many spiritually-curious Israelis to seek instruction through Hinduism, Buddhism, Scientology etc., Blue Star satisfies this hunger with a Jewish approach to human spirituality that is contemporary and requires no compulsory eligious observance.