Progressive Judaism in Florence
What is Progressive Judaism?
Shir Hadash is a member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements, serving 1,200 congregations with 1.8 million members in more than 45 countries.
Progressive Judaism is rooted in the Bible, especially the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets. It is founded on authentic manifestations of Jewish creativity, ancient and modern, particularly those that stress inwardness and desire to learn what God expects from us: justice and equality, democracy and peace, personal fulfillment and collective obligations.
The practices of Progressive Judaism are anchored in Jewish thought and tradition. They seek to extend the range of observance by granting full equality to all Jews, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation, while challenging laws that are contrary to Judaism's fundamental principles.
Of the 12 million Jews in the world today, nearly one-third live in countries where Jewish life is weak and where there are few opportunities for meaningful Jewish practice. It is the World Union's goal to ensure that all Jews have access to the vibrant Jewish life that can best inspire them spiritually and bring their communities together practically. We are committed to this sacred task. [Source: http://www.wupj.org/About/About.asp]
Shir Hadash was founded in Florence by a group of ex-pat American Jewish women and Italian Jewish men, both looking for an alternative space to express their Judaism in Italy. Today Shir Hadash is an active and growing congregation which still reflects those origins. We are a mixed group of nationalities, ages, traditions and Jewish origins, using our diversity to study, celebrate and live a Jewish lifestyle which is a unique blend. We are an egalitarian Progressive congregation. We encourage equal participation of men and women of all races, national origins, sexual orientations and physical, mental or emotional disabilities. We are happy to welcome as guests persons visiting Florence and the surrounding area. Jews from other denominations are also very welcome to attend, as are persons of other religious faiths and backgrounds who would like to learn more about Progressive Judaism.
As a small congregation, we do not have the resources for a full-time rabbi. However throughout the years we have had the great fortune to have been guided by a series of American rabbis and guest cantors. From their years of experience they have provided us with the mediation, teaching and inspiration that has been invaluable for our growth as a community.