Making Jewish Tradition Relevant to Modern Life

How can Jewish tradition elevate our day-to-day existence in the 21st century? What does the Jewish past have to do with our own future?

This video is one in a 4-part series called Rooted: Jewish Values Run Deep, which explores the productive tensions between Jewish values, and engages viewers in thinking more deeply about these values, what we learn from them, and how these tensions enrich Judaism. These questions serve as a starting point for both personal reflection and community conversation — so each video is accompanied by a guide that can help facilitate and deepen these dialogues.

Community Building Questions

  • Rabbi Hoffman calls for us to be radical and creative in how we approach Judaism today, without walking away from 2000 years of wisdom. How do we honor the Jewish past while looking to the future?
  • What is the difference between learning and knowing? Is knowledge a possession or a process?
  • What does our history teach us about how Jews have grappled with change — and how Judaism has changed as a result?

Breaking Barriers Questions

  • What parts of Jewish tradition align with your own values and life? How do you explain what “works” and what does not? Do you have an overarching rationale for how you practice, or is it case-by-case?
  • Is there value in studying texts and teachings that feel outdated or irrelevant to our modern lives? Why or why not?
  • How do we make our questions and doubts the starting point for constructive conversations about Judaism?

We would love to hear your reactions to these questions and activities. Please use the comment feature on the bottom of this page to join the conversation.

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