Reconstructionist Rabbi Sidney Schwarz argues here that the old model of the synagogue is outdated, and no longer meets the needs of Baby Boomer constituents, who are genuinely interested in a renewed spirituality. His quest to make the synagogue a place of "great Jewish excitement and commitment" involves many of the same strategies that fuel new-paradigm Christian churches: reach the "unsynagogued," be open to innovative and informal modes of worship, get congregants involved in vibrant, close-knit small groups (havurot), and--most importantly--never forget that people have come for spiritual food, not gefilte fish. Judaism, Schwarz writes, has to be about more than a mere ethnic affiliation or it is lost.
He profiles one thriving "synagogue-community" from each of the four major Jewish denominations in America: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist (using his own synagogue). Schwarz's ideas for transformation are resonant, wise, and powerful, but what makes this book truly special are the individual profiles of people who reconnected with their Judaism.