Eighteen Principles

 

This statement of principles, drafted in the 1990s and revised by the Board on March 17, 2021, remains a meaningful component of what guides ALEPH’s evolution, practices, and growth.

 

FOUR WORLDS, EIGHTEEN AFFIRMATIONS, ONE COVENANT: ALEPH STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES

We of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal strive to open ourselves to awareness of the sacred in all of existence. We strive to create Jewish paths of prayer and meditation, study, communal life, practice, and public action that embody this outlook. We see ourselves in a crucial position at these times of paradigm shift and are committed to help develop a spirituality through which Judaism can transform itself to continued vitality in the service of tikkun olam—world and soul healing.

Together we affirm principles and values that flow together from the Four Worlds of Being, Knowing, Relating, and Doing:

In the world of Atzilut (Being):

1. The foundation and center of these principles is the Mystery we name God. We understand Judaism to be the individual and collective responses of Jews throughout our history, both in thought and deed, to the ongoing manifestations of the Divine.

2. We are committed to the search for a deeper and higher understanding of the spiritual realities in our lives and of our cosmic purposes.

3. We meditate on and reverentially engage with the Divine in ways that honor both the tradition, and how past generations experienced God as transcendent, and our intuition as to how we are addressed in the present.

4. We see the human spirit and the Divine as one evolving process that calls upon us all for the interaction that we call Godwrestling (“Yisrael”) and “Gathering the Sparks.”

5. We intend to open ourselves to the transformation of consciousness and action that is resulting from our living in a time when the Feminine is continuing to manifest after ​millennia of suppression, and we are dedicating ourselves to making space for and learning through Her manifestations.

In the world of Briyah (Knowing):

6. In the sacred texts of the Jewish people and the writings of Jewish spiritual teachers of previous generations, we find enormous wisdom and insight that draw on Eternal truth and continue to have great potential to aid human beings in our quest for personal growth, empowerment, and healing—as well as those elements that are historically limited and need to be transcended. We will study, teach, and make accessible these texts and writings with all those who wish to encounter them, wrestle with their content and meaning, and decide what to draw on and what to leave behind.

7. Among our guides to interpretation of Torah are the Rabbinic, Prophetic, Kabbalistic, Hassidic and Jewish World traditions as they are now being transformed in the light of evolving contemporary spirituality, process theology, feminist theology and our own direct experience of the Divine.

8. We are committed to deep ecumenism; engaging respectfully with other spiritual traditions, sharing with them what we have learned about awakened consciousness and acknowledging what we might learn from them, to see whether and how it can enhance our practice of the Jewish path.

In the world of Yetzirah (Relating):

9. We are committed to fostering a nourishing environment for spiritual growth in which all that we are learning about the human psyche and spirit is honored, and through which we enable the self to embody the Presence and cultivate compassion.

10. Our communities strive to be collective, and egalitarian and accountable in leadership and decision-making.

11. Our communal Jewish life is open to all. We welcome every individual, appreciating the sacredness of their humanity, while recognizing and nurturing the breadth of their diversity, regardless of race, culture, class, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.

12. We make space for all spiritual seekers who have not yet found a spiritual home in the Jewish community or a satisfying connection to the Jewish people and its traditions and teachings.

In the world of Assiyah (Doing):

13. In order to heal the world, we seek to re-balance the power relationships among human beings and institutions, redressing the interconnected socio-economic and ecological crises that plague marginalized communities, and aiming to work for liberation. We view these efforts as integral to Jewish spirituality and action.

14. We believe that the healthy expression of Jewish peoplehood requires vital, varied, and creative Jewish communities in Israel and throughout the world, and further depends on the continuous and open-hearted interchange between all these communities. We intend to treat with respect other Jews and other Jewish communities whose approaches to Jewish life differ from our own, even if we feel compelled to oppose their statements or their actions.

15. We are committed to the formation and growth of communities, programs, initiatives, and organizations that are in alignment with these principles. We invite and welcome fellow-travelers to co-create and even partner with us.

16. We are committed to living in and drawing inspiration from Israel, land of enduring history, seat of sacred narrative, and land of the Bible. We do so in mutual recognition of our cousins, the Palestinians, and each other’s right to freedom, self-determination, justice, security and peace. We are committed to skillful efforts that seek a peaceful way to share the land of Israel/Palestine among all peoples who cherish it and call it home.

17.  We seek to amplify the voice of Gaian Consciousness: that all life is interconnected and interdependent, as both our ancient wisdom and modern science tell us. We must reconnect with and cherish our planet, its wild and natural spaces, because the Earth we live on is holy ground. We must act for the healing and flourishing of healthy and diverse ecosystems. We see this as a moral imperative to each other and future generations.

18. We are committed to applying these principles to the renewal and revitalization of our personal and communal ceremonies, rituals, liturgies, spiritual practices, and life-paths, as well as to our processes for collective decision-making and collective actions, with curiosity, humility and trust in Judaism’s continuing evolution.