Preschool in Irvine, CA 92612
3400 Michelson Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
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The mission of University Synagogue is to be a center of Reconstructionist Judaism for adults and children. Embodying a sense of community, we kindle spirituality and foster intellectual challenge while broadening the boundaries of modern Jewish life. We provide for the religious, cultural and Jewish educational needs of our members as we actively participate in building the Jewish future.
University Synagogue was founded by a group of men and women who were searching for a more meaningful synagogue experience. We wanted a philosophy that shared our values, and we found in Reconstructionism a form of Judaism that mirrored our deepest hopes for our lives. Since its founding, our congregation has grown rapidly, from 70 households to over 625 and continues to grow. We have a dynamic Rabbi, fine Educators, an inspiring Cantor and we are an active member of our national organization, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.
At University Synagogue, we call ourselves a congregation, but we think of ourselves as an extended family, an authentic caring community. What unites us is a love of tradition and a desire for innovation. We do what Jews have always done; we weave the beauty of our heritage with the scientific and philosophical truths that we have learned in our lives.
University Synagogue offers a full range of programs and services centered on our continual striving to learn and understand ourselves as Jews and as part of all humanity.
University Synagogue welcomes those who want a deeply satiSFying Jewish experience. If you are looking for an open atmosphere in which you can learn, celebrate and experience Judaism fully, you will find University Synagogue both comfortable and meaningful.
In Reconstructionism, we are fond of saying that belonging precedes behaving which precedes believing. First, we have to belong – to create a community that welcomes people who feel comfortable in Jewish life as well as those who feel disenfranchised – religiously, intellectually or emotionally – from existing congregations and movements.
We have to meet their needs through human warmth and love and by being faithful to Judaism’s tradition of hospitality. Next, we have to behave – to create a laboratory of living Judaism in which men and women can learn the profound experience of liberal Judaism. Finally, while recognizing everyone’s autonomy as both a right and a necessity, we have to believe – to stand for something – in terms of the integrity of Judaism, by fostering a moral conscience addressed to both Jewish and universal concerns and by making ethics and wisdom touchstones of our lives.
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Reconstructionists believe that God is that spirit within us, and within the universe, that helps us become loving and caring people; that power which we perceive through reason, experience and intuition that urges us towards self-fulfillment and ethical behavior. We find God by understanding ourselves, by being morally concerned and by being motivated to study and live as Jews.
Each person is actively urged to study Jewish tradition and then to select those mitzvot that are personally and spiritually meaningful. There is also no single definition of a “good Jew” – some will find meaning in kashrut and Shabbat, others in study, still others in Jewish culture, Zionism or social action. What is important is that each Jew acquires a mature and sophisticated level of knowledge about Judaism, so that his or her choices will be informed and educated ones.
In order that Judaism may play a life enhancing role in our lives, we place greater emphasis on positive actions, rather than negative prohibitions. According to Reconstructionism, tradition is entitled to a vote, but not a veto.