Traditionalism Confronts Lifecycle Innovation

Traditionalist Jews have many objections to new, or renewed, lifecycle ceremonies.

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The misapplication or misunderstanding of a required ritual, like kiddush (which technically belongs on the Sabbath and festivals), devalues its holiness, say traditionalists. “It’s a balance between tradition and creativity. Of course, everyone balances a little differently,” says Rabbi Blau. But traditionalists see themselves “as part of something”: a long and honorable tradition.

“[Contemporary traditionalists] don’t see ourselves in isolation, but as part of a historical continuum,” he says. “And we want to maintain our continuity.”

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Debra Nussbaum Cohen

Debra Nussbaum Cohen is a staff writer for The Jewish Week.