CDT’s values express our highest aspirations for who we are and who we hope to be as a congregation. They are a touchstone for us to reflect on in our actions and our decisions, guiding us in in our life together as a community.
This list of values was developed over the course of 2014-2015 through discussions guided by the CDT Board and involving the congregational membership as a whole. We are grateful to Rabbi David Teutsch for the list of Jewish values that he included in A Guide to Jewish Practice, published by the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, which served as our springboard into the process of developing our set of core values.
קְהִלָּה Kehillah (Commitment to Community): According to Jewish tradition, human beings can only fulfill themselves in relationship with others. The Torah teaches that the holiest form of community is formed by a brit, a covenant, in which individuals enter into sacred relationship with one another and with the Source of Life. Anchored within a web of mutual obligation, members share a commitment to the wellbeing of the community and its values, and to one another.
חֶסֶד Chesed (Lovingkindness): We extend to one another lovingkindness, sharing joyful times and difficult times, providing comfort, marking milestones, and supporting one another through life’s transitions.
Inclusion and Human Dignity: We affirm the idea that every human being is created b’tzelem Elohim, “in God’s image,” and is thus deserving of care and respect. We welcome all those who share our values: people of all ages, races and ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, abilities, gender identities and sexual orientations.
כַּוָֹנָה Kavanah (Sacred Intention): We engage in speech and action with integrity and with deliberate, thoughtful attention and intention.
Lifelong Jewish Learning: We are committed to dynamic Jewish study, engaging with Jewish texts, values, practices, and traditions and “reconstructing” them in ways that move and inspire us today. We are committed to developing the Jewish education of our children, nourishing the next generation’s values, traditions, and spiritual and ethical practices.
מַחֲלוֹקֶת לְֹשֶם ֹשָמַיִם Machloket l’shem shamayim (Debate for the Sake of Heaven): We foster respectful discourse and affirm the traditional Jewish value of “debate for the sake of heaven”.
מִצְוָה Mitzvah (Ethical & Ritual Practice): We affirm the concept of mitzvah as “sacred connector,” a religious or ethical practice that connects us in many ways: to other people, to God/liness, to Jewish history and tradition, to the earth, to our own best selves. We seek to learn about both traditional and contemporary mitzvot and to explore their relevance to our lives and our world today.
Spirituality: We seek out and nurture experiences, both individually and collectively, that elevate, inspire, and connect us to That which is beyond ourselves. Our collective spiritual life, informed by Jewish practice, strengthens the community as a whole while supporting and fostering the spiritual journeys and personal growth of members.
תִקוּן עוֹלָם Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World): We strive to create a world that is just and kind. We pursue justice/tzedek for all—through personal, social, and political action. We understand that we are responsible for our broader community and our planet.