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Whose life was changed by this? “The Jewish Catalog”It expanded to a series of 3 books. I wish that the authors or publisher would re-edit/update this series 🙂
Andrew Silow-Carroll writes:
For my first sukka, which I built in the early 1990s, I used two-by-fours for the frame and cinder blocks for the “foundation.” The “walls” were billowing bed sheets, and I bought cornstalks for the roof. … the result had a laid-back charm, it mostly looked like a fixer-upper in Hooverville. I’d gotten the plans out of The First Jewish Catalog, which even then was a bit of an artifact of the hippy-dippy ’70s, when it was published. The Catalog, edited by Michael Strassfeld, Sharon Strassfeld, and Richard Siegel, was subtitled “A Do-It-Yourself Kit.” It was ostensibly a product of the Jewish counterculture, although most of its editors and contributors could boast excellent Jewish and even rabbinic educations.
Its inspiration was The Whole Earth Catalog, a source of “tools and ideas” compiled by writer, activist, tech visionary and eco-warrior Stewart Brand. In Walter Isaacson’s new book, The Innovators, he places Brand at the center of a “loose alliance of community organizers, communal-minded hippies, do-it-yourself hobbyists, and homebrew hackers, most of whom were suspicious of centralized authority.”…
The Jewish Catalog combined Whole Earth’s DIY ethos and antiauthoritarian spirit with a strong dose of Jewish tradition. Its tone was liberal and egalitarian, but it respected the Halacha. … it had instructions on how to make a seder, craft your own tallit, and bake a challah. Its target audience seemed to be young Jews who wanted to return to the traditions of their grandparents, but weren’t exactly sure how.
… I consulted the Catalog when I didn’t know a blessing, was confused about kashrut, or needed a reminder about this thing called “Shemini Atzeret” (which was not, as it turned out, Sholom Aleichem’s less talented brother)….
….The Jewish Catalog empowered an influential generation of Jewish leaders and lay people…. You see its DNA in various projects that aim to provide new “tools” for under-educated or under-“engaged” Jews:
the PJ Library of free Jewish books for young families, environmental organizations like Hazon and Urban Adamah, alternative spiritual communities like Ikar and Hadar, and how-to resources like MyJewishLearning and G-dcast. Even large temples have havurot and alternative minyanim meant to personalize the suburban synagogue experience….