There are not four movements in Judaism, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist, like many people assume. There's a fifth: IKAR Judaism. Meaning: spirited, deep, hitting the soul and core of things, musical, harmonious, beautiful and generally positive in all ways.
The davening and the space you create is so real and so wonderful. I felt completely centered and at peace, which is exactly what Shabbat is meant to inspire us to be. Thank you for giving me a real Shabbat; it was heavenly.
I loved celebrating Shabbat with you and your minyan; I was overcome with emotion more than once by the sincerity of the davening and the constant reminders of why we assemble on Shabbat and strive to keep it holy.
What I saw and heard when I arrived at IKAR blew me away. The second I entered the room, I forgot all about the office I had just left, and simply smiled. If you do not belong to a synagogue, or if your parents' synagogue doesn't cut it, IKAR might just be the place for you.
We knew IKAR was the place for us, pretty much as soon as we came in the door on Rosh Hashana. There was so much we loved – the mixed-up combination of elements that could have been a dream: women in tallith and prayer that was Chasidic in fervor, a traditional liturgy with dancing and drums, but, above all, the sense of joy that made a school gym feel like the Temple in Jerusalem.
If I weren't already Jewish, I'd want to be.
IKAR is an example that should be followed by the entire Jewish world.
Marcos Metta Cohen
Services were awesome last Friday night (as always)!! You create such a great vibe – wonderful music, inspiring words, warm community. Thank you!
I love IKAR because it infuses soul into prayer. It infuses morality into Torah that is often lost on those who would rather study nuances of law rather than the clear moral prescriptions of our Gd. Torah is meant to be lived, not merely studied. I only wish we could bring IKAR to every congregation of Jews.
We LOVED IKAR. It's as if you people have designed my perfect shul.
Professor Steven M. Cohen
In IKAR I have found the answer to the prayer for meaningful Judaism that my parents wished they had found, and the pride in the Judaism that I can't wait to share with my own children someday.
Overheard from the backseat of a Los Angeles shlepmobile.
Kid 1: Do you go to IKAR?
Kid 2: What's IKAR?
Kid 1: It's like Hanukkah, but all year long.
IKAR possesses a welcoming atmosphere, and a non-judgmental one. Rabbi Brous's commitment to social justice is infectious. The music of prayer at IKAR is electrifying. The people who lead services are not performing, they're praying. At IKAR we never observe Jewish rituals in a vacuum. We are constantly reminded that sacred prayers are forever relevant and necessary. It took me many years, and three continents, to find IKAR. It is a blessing to be a part of this community.
IKAR has flourished and grown in many ways, and this community, along with their rabbi, serves as constant inspiration for the work I do today, and will do tomorrow, in my future rabbinate.
Aderet Okon Drucker
Your IKAR of Judaism class has been a highlight in my life. I have never been happier than at this time. I am learning so much with a wider lens, a Jewish lens, about how to see the world. Through your teachings, Rabbi Brad and Rabbi Ed, my place in this world is much more beautiful.
I stopped going to temple for the high holidays years ago. But I recently started dipping my toe back into the spiritual kiddie pool. And so this Rosh Hashanah I found myself sitting on a folding chair in the auditorium of a community center. My girlfriend, Jess, and I were looking for a service that didn't feel like we were getting our molars removed with pliers.
Near the start of the proceedings, I was sold. In a spirit of celebration so appropriate for New Year's but sadly lacking in the temples of my youth, kids came dancing in from the children's service as we rose and sang songs of jubilation. Though it's only 5765, I'd venture to say we partied like it was 5799. The Days of Awe are now behind us, and I've returned to the secular world as Stealth Jew. But I've returned rejuvenated, my spiritual tank topped off with enough fresh insight and inspiration to proudly declare, when duty calls, "Um, actually, I'm Jewish.”
Alan Olifson in The Providence Phoenix
My sister told me about the wonderful IKAR of Judaism series at IKAR. I downloaded it, and am listening to your programs. What a miracle for me to be able to be here in the beautiful New England weather, and at the same time learn from my favorite West Coast Ravs. I often lead teaching services for FJMC and will incorporate your insights into the kavanot that I share. Todah Rabah!