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Judaism Disrupted: A discussion with Rabbi Michael Strassfeld

Virtual Event Virtual Event

May 31, 2023 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

Registration is through the Jewish Study Center. 

Judaism Disrupted

Join the Fabrangen Speaker’s Series and the Jewish Study Center for an on-line discussion with Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, co-editor of the three volumes of The Jewish Catalog, perhaps the most widely read books in the Jewish counterculture of the 1970’s.  His newest book Judaism Disrupted: A Spiritual Manifesto for the 21st Century is being published by Ben Yehuda Press on the 50th anniversary of the Jewish Catalog.   

“The purpose of Judaism is not to be a good Jew by doing lots of its rituals,” Strassfeld said in a recent interview. “The purpose of Judaism is to be a good person, a mensch.”

Fabrangen members Dr. Lucy Steinitz and Rabbi Charles (Chuck) Feinberg will participate in the online conversation.

Michael Strassfeld grew up as the son of a modern Orthodox rabbi and attended Yeshiva University before transferring to Brandeis University in his sophomore year.  He received an MA from Brandeis and was a member of Havurat Shalom.  He graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College at the age of 41 and served as the rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed and then of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism (both in Manhattan) until his retirement in 2015.  He was a faculty member of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality (1999-2014).  He is now retired, living in New York.

Strassfeld was one of the editors of the Jewish Catalog: A Do It Yourself Kit (1973) a guide to do-it-yourself Judaism that sold over 300,000 copies.  He co-edited the Second and Third Jewish Catalogs (1975, 1979), authored The Jewish Holidays (1985), co-authored A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah (1999) with his wife Rabbi Joy Levitt, and authored A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice (2002).  He edits a free weekly newsletter about Judaism (subscribe at michaelstrassfeld.com)

Dr. Lucy Steinitz, a long-term member of Fabrangen in Washington, D.C. first met Michael Strassfeld fifty years ago when they were both members of Havurat Shalom outside Boston.  She wrote one of the chapters in the Third Jewish Catalog (co-edited by Rabbi Strassfeld) and has written or edited over fifty publications since. 

Lucy worked for the Jewish community for 20 years, then moved to Africa to do humanitarian work for 17 years, and now works for Catholic Relief Services, the international development arm of the Catholic Church.  She volunteers in local prisons and serves on the Boards of her undergraduate college (Wilmington College, a Quaker school) and the USAP Community School in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe.

Charles M. Feinberg has been a rabbi for almost 50 years, serving congregations in Madison, WI, Poughkeepsie, NY, Vancouver, BC, and Washington, DC.  Rabbi Feinberg retired from Adas Israel Congregation in Washington in June 2015 when he became the founding executive director of Interfaith Action for Human Rights, retiring from that position in December of 2022.

Rabbi Feinberg has long been involved in social action and social justice issues.  He was a leader in the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s.  His congregation in Madison gave refuge for 18 months to a Guatemalan family.  Rabbi Feinberg was chair of the Dutchess Outreach social service agency in Poughkeepsie and later was chair of the Multifaith Society in Vancouver.  In every community, he inspired his congregation to help the poor and homeless.  He has also been the chairperson of the Social Action Committee of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization of the Conservative Rabbinate and was a board member and co-chair of Rabbis for Human Rights and T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.  

The book is available at
Politics and Prose | Amazon | Ben Yehuda Press | Barnes & Noble