Judaism Unbound Episode 115: Beloved - Sara Luria, Isaac Luria


Dan and Lex are joined by Sara and Isaac Luria, founders of Beloved, a home-based spiritual community in Brooklyn. [1] Their conversation covers a wide variety of topics, all revolving around their work to infuse the world with deeper forms of community, love, and justice.

 Image Credit: Sara and Isaac Luria

Image Credit: Sara and Isaac Luria

(0:01 - 19:00): To begin the episode, Sara Luria tells Beloved's origin story, emphasizing the role that shock after Donald Trump's election played in it. [2] Specifically, it helped spur her and her husband into action, as they took steps to create a spiritual community based out of their own home. [3] They decided that this spiritual home would center the ideas of love and "belovedness" -- in a world that needs more of both. Both guests also express their amusement at the idea that creating Judaism in a home environment constitutes "innovation," and they reflect on what that reflects about 20th century trends toward the institutionalization and professionalization of many elements of life that were previously home-based.

(19:01 - 33:57): Both Lurias look inward, exploring what it is about their own journeys and stories that planted the seed for them to create Beloved, both as individuals and jointly as a couple. As they do so, they draw wisdom from a perhaps unexpected place: the Christian landscape of mega-churches. [4] They explore how they, more so than Jewish institutional models, are where they look for inspiration, regarding how to create an institution that embeds a welcoming spirit into its DNA.  They also consider how their organization balances its goal to specifically reach and engage Jews, while also being a space that is open to people of other religious backgrounds.

(33:58 - 50:14): Because Beloved emerged partially as a result of Donald Trump's election, ideals of social justice are at its core. Sara and Isaac Luria look at how justice manifests in their work, highlighting a new and growing field called Healing Justice in the process. [5] Sara Luria then calls for a "collective Mikvah for our Jewish experience," which would help us transition, by "letting go of what isn't working anymore" in order to "be present to what is" and "move forward into what will be." For the last question of the episode, Isaac Luria flips into the role of interviewer, asking his wife to explore how Beloved's work has affected the lives of their children. [6]

 Image Credit: Amy Sara Clark, Jewish Week

Image Credit: Amy Sara Clark, Jewish Week

[1] Learn more about Sara and Isaac Luria by checking out their bios. Explore the work that Beloved is doing by visiting BelovedBK.org.

[2] Luria expands on the spiritual challenges posed by Donald Trump in this 2016 piece, featured in Lilith Magazine.

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[3] The Lurias cite Robyn Henderson-Espinoza's ideas on togetherness and community. Learn more about their work by visiting iRobyn.com

[4] In discussing the mega-church world, the Lurias cite the book How to Build a Small Groups Ministry. It is available for purchase at this link.

[5] For a podcast that features voices from the new and growing field of Healing Justice, visit www.healingjustice.org

[6] Recently, past Judaism Unbound guests Casper ter Kuile and Angie Thurston published a report that examines the contemporary landscape of religious organizations looking to "nurture the Care of Souls." Both Sara and Isaac Luria are cited in the report, which can be accessed by clicking here.

[7] For an article that profiles Beloved's work, see this February 2018 article in The New York Jewish Week, entitled "Reform-Led Chabad-Style House Opens in Brooklyn."