Ritual Design Reading List: Reinventing Ritual in contemporary Jewish life

We found this beautiful artbook, Reinventing Ritual: Contemporary Art and Design for Jewish Life, as a dive into a the rich world of how Jewish leaders and artists have worked to create more modern versions of older rituals, or new rituals for spiritual needs of today.

It is less a recipe book for new rituals, and more a book of visions and provocations — putting forward new objects and art pieces that make us think about what the older traditions meant, and what new rituals might look like.

Rituals are a huge feature of Jewish life and practice. But people are proposing new ways to make it fit into modern life, and more secular and interfaith communities. 

Like — what would a new, modern wedding cup be, that unites two people coming together in a marriage? Or a new kind of Purism scroll for the ritual reading?

Or what about female rituals to complement the male-dominated ones? One artist created a woman’s tank top tzitzit, for wearing ritual fringes that are traditionally worn by men.

In the book, Danya Ruttenberg’s essay “Heaven and Earth” recognizes that there is big potential for ritual design in the Jewish community:

“The Jewish impulse in ritual is toward adding, toward fining new ways to fill out the nuances of our awareness of the Sacred, toward trying to concretize the encounter with the Divine in as many ways as we can from our messy, complex, variegated lives. New rituals have always been created, and Jews have always been willing to go outside known and comfortable forms of Judaism to make this happen.”

A Ritual Design Reading List

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