Take Five: Q&A with Rabbi Steven Stark-Lowenstein of Am Shalom
This week we continue our Take Five feature: Patch asks five questions of your own neighbors and community leaders. Today we discuss Judaism and its meaning, past to present, with a local religious leader.
Rabbi Steven Stark-Lowenstein of Am Shalom in Glencoe is celebrating his 10th year at the synagogue. He previously served seven years as an associate rabbi at Temple Sholom in Chicago and is active in the Glencoe Human Relations Council and the Interfaith Community Garden.
He and his wife, Julie Stark, are the proud parents of two boys. Their oldest will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall, and their youngest will be a sophmore at New Trier High School. Stark-Lowenstein has lived in Glencoe with his family since he began serving as Rabbi at Am Shalom.
Stark-Lowenstein discusses the culture of Judaism, and how it connects to the past and present.
Patch: How would you define the Jewish culture?
Judaism is really just a way of life, it encompasses life and religion and makes us who we are. We stand on some 3,000 plus years of tradition and it is our opportunity to unpack that history and make it our own.
Patch: How has the Jewish religion changed or evolved over the years?
I think reformed Judaism is a movement, there has to be movement and change to keep it rich and vibrant. Our religion is constantly adapting and reorientating itself to make it relevant for today's world. Rav Cook once said the goal of Judaism is to take the old and make it new and take the new and make it holy. I believe that.
Patch: What do you see as the future of Judaism?
To me it is making it relevant, and finding that relevance while holding on tightly to the past and all of its traditions and bringing it forward to today.
Patch: How do Jewish people respect the past while living in today's world?
We have access through technology and the Internet to so much information to help us learn. We can find the building blocks for the future from the religion's unique history through understanding our origins.
Patch: What is important to you to convey to people about Judaism?
It is deed or creed, that it's really about the doing of Judaism and the becoming of Judaism that is the most powerful and attractive aspect of it, we value the repairing of the world to Tikkun Olam.