SOURCE: Central Conference of American Rabbis

Central Conference of American Rabbis

April 01, 2014 16:00 ET

New Book From Reform Rabbi Organization Explores Changing Relationship Between Liberal Judaism and Sexuality

The Sacred Encounter, Published by CCAR Press, Approaches Questions of Modern Sexuality With Classical Biblical Perspectives

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 1, 2014) - How can classical Jewish teachings help us to understand contemporary issues of sexuality? The CCAR Press, the publishing arm of the Central Conference for American Rabbis (CCAR), has published a new book that tracks and investigates the evolving relationship between liberal Judaism and sexuality.

The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives on Sexuality provides opportunities for reflection and dialogue on topics such as Biblical and classical rabbinical viewpoints, sexuality and marriage, Jewish sexual ethics, and others. The collection, edited by Rabbi Lisa J. Grushcow, DPhil, contains essays, personal reflections, and 100-word "short takes" by rabbis and scholars from across the Jewish denominational spectrum.

How has liberal Judaism evolved in the area of LGBT issues? How can we interpret ancient Jewish teachings and texts for a modern world? How can classical Biblical perspectives help us to understand issues such as consent, pornography, marital infidelity, fertility, and divorce? The wide range of opinions featured in The Sacred Encounter can help make sense of these questions. The book's sections include:

  • In the Beginning: Biblical and rabbinical contexts for understanding sexuality, and explorations of foundational Jewish texts.
  • God in the Bedroom, God in the Body: The relationship between Jewish theology and sexual identity
  • "A Progressive Religion": A historical perspective on the Reform Movement's approach to sexuality, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Beloved Companions: An examination of Jewish marital models, and how those models have changed over time.
  • Ages and Stages: Sexuality and religion throughout life, from discussions of sexual models for children and teenagers to examinations of sexuality in old age.
  • Issues, Ethics, and Boundaries: Analyses of how Jewish values can be implemented in a variety of situations, from issues of consent, to sex trafficking, to cybersex.

The Sacred Encounter seeks to take a step forward in the study of Judaism and sexuality. The collection features over four dozen essays and personal reflections, representing far-ranging perspectives on a host of issues. Instead of presenting the official view of the CCAR, The Sacred Encounter presents multiple viewpoints to give the audience an understanding of the issues at hand.

To learn more about The Sacred Encounter, please contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or Katarina@sommerfield.com.

About CCAR Press
CCAR Press, a division of the CCAR, publishes liturgy and resource materials for the Reform Movement, including prayer books for the home, congregations and other Jewish institutions, as well as Responsa, platforms and guidelines. For more information, please visit www.ccarpress.org.

About CCAR
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them with opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org/.

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