Rav Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Palestine, was a rigorous defender of traditional Judaism, yet broke with his contemporaries and engaged the secular chalutzim—the pioneers settling the land of Israel. He saw in them not a break in the chain but the dawn of redemption. Stories are told of the rabbi in a long black coat and fur hat, beard and tzitzit flying, dancing the hora with the young kibbutzniks in their shorts, sandals and open, short-sleeved shirts.
Rav Kook explained his approach to building the Jewish future in a famous dictum—“What is old, make new; what is new, make holy.”
At this pivotal moment in history, The Jewish Federations of North America embrace this idea wholeheartedly. We are committed to preserving what is essential from our past while renewing our thinking and fostering innovation, all while bringing the holiness of our tradition into our work. Read more.