Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer

Episode 23: Is Instagram The New Go-To Jewish Space? With @Modern_Ritual cofounders Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer


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THE NOTORIOUS G-O-D 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 … … … We want to talk about God a little more here at Modern Ritual because “God” is such a loaded word/concept/idea!!! … … … When we say that we “believe in God” we do so because we see God as a hugely expansive concept that could encompass all meaning/change/the universe. But also sometimes God feels very personal! Something we experience in the day to day in a hug or in the sunshine or after drinks with a friend. … … … Did you know that in Judaism there are around 100 names for God? That God is described in so many ways? … … … This is important because we want to make it clear that we do not believe that God is a man in the sky!!! 👨 + ⛅️ = 🤷‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏿‍♀️ … … … We do want to take ourselves theologically seriously though. This means that we are truly seeking wisdom in our lives, looking for greater meaning. We are open to evolving ideas of God and questions about God and feeling differently on different days. … … … We try to stay away from the binary of belief versus not belief. … … … So we want to know- how are you feeling about God? What are some of your questions? Does the word make you feel uncomfortable? Let’s talk! … #god #theology #feminism #judaism #ideas #questions #love #exploring #jewish #modernritual

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Rabbi Samantha is the co-founder of Modern Ritual, an Instagram account claiming a space for feminist Jewish engagement in our modern world. Outside of social media, she received her ordination the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Samantha decided to become a rabbi because she saw the ways in which Judaism guided people through the most difficult and most joyous moments in life. Sam has worked as a student rabbi in Monessen, PA, Yale University and currently the rabbinic intern at Temple Micah in DC, working on the Haftarah Project.

Rena is the co-founder of the Instagram account, Modern Ritual. She’s currently in her fourth year at HUC-JIR and is the rabbinic intern at Central Synagogue in New York. She is very proud of the feminist Hanukkah song that she wrote with her sister this past year. The Instagram account, Modern Ritual was started in spring 2017 when Rena approach Sam in the library with the idea. “There needs to be engaging, beautiful Jewish content on Instagram,” Rena said, “and I think we can create it together.” They’ve been active and engaging ever since.

What happens when a 3,000 year old tradition that is filled with deep ideas about sacred space and time, the capacity to achieve liberation from bondage, and also has a lot of talk about camels and goats collides with contemporary values such as feminism, creating inclusive spiritual community for Jews of all hues and non-Jews as well, and the importance for honest talk about theology or the lack thereof?

You get @Modern_Ritual.

In this podcast episode, I speak with Rabbi Samantha Frank and Rena Singer of Modern Ritual to hear about

  • The logistics of growing an Instagram following and building an online community

  • The potential for Judaism to have mass-appeal across all groups. Be sure to tune in to find out why Rabbi Samantha and Rena think that this can and cannot happen.

  • How content creators can and should learn from the communities that they serve. Hearing the much needed reminder that what it means to be Jewish in NYC is different than what it means to be Jewish in Kentucky. How each and every person has a completely different relationship to their identity, community, and religion/spirituality. And how the uniqueness and differences of our stories come together as one song with resonances and dissonances.

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There is a LOT to say about periods in JUDAISM! 💃🏻✡️👠✡️🧣✡️🎒✡️🌺✡️🍓 … … … Much of what is written in traditional Jewish text seems pretty cray- the rabbis of the Mishnah (collection of Jewish laws from 3rd century) had a lot of wacky ideas about what goes on in people’s bodies (and were reasonably pretty scared because #blood ) so they developed a lot of rituals around the idea that people on their periods are impure. … … … What we CAN get from them is a desire to mark and ritualize and make sacred the changes taking place in our bodies and how they make us aware of the movement of time. … … … @atthewellproject is doing some AWESOME work on getting women together to talk about cycles in a spiritual context. … … … We’re thinking about writing blessings for periods! Rabbi Yitz Greenberg said “if the rabbis were women, there would have been 100 blessings for giving birth, but they weren’t so there aren’t any.” In fact we can create blessings for the myriad of changes in our bodies (esp given that not all women get periods and not all people who get periods are women) ! … … … If you were writing a blessing for getting your period or blessing another bodily change what would it look like?? Send some ideas our way!! … … #blessings #bodies #feminism #coffee #latteart #tikkunolam #ritual #judaism #jewish #tradition #change #spiritual #spirituality #mindfulness #period #newyork #modernritual

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For resources recommended by Rabbi Samantha and Rena, be sure to check out:

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Jewish friendship is called hevruta !! … … … Well, technically a hevruta is a study partner – someone with whom you read and discuss Jewish texts. But the aim of hevruta is much more than that! … … … Through hevruta we get to know the texts more deeply, and we also get to know each other on a deeper level! 💗 and this in turn connects us to the Divine ✨✨ … … … Through hevruta, we learn to be better listeners and to ask different questions. We examine ancient wisdom to see how it can shape our lives today. We see that in partnership, we can go further than any one person can go alone. … … … Tag a hevruta (even if you haven’t technically studied together!!!) and tell us something that you learned from them! 💜⚡️💜 . #jewish #jewishfeminist #modernritual #learning #limmud #friendship #hevruta #ancientwisdom #spiritual #divine #togetherness #strongertogether

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“So… what does a Modern God mean to you?
(bye bye Zeus)

Comment Below!”

Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to share this podcast with your friends and family!

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