Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
What We Hope to Accomplish
We hope NeoHasid.org will open a door for anyone who wants to connect their own spiritual practice with Chasidic traditions. The resources on NeoHasid.org will be especially useful to non-Orthodox Jews and egalitarian groups that may not have access to Chasidic learning (or may not feel comfortable in an Orthodox shul), but they are also here for people in the frum (strictly observant) community. Our goal is to give people access to these songs and to the spiritual ta'am they embody.
We hope to be egalitarian in many senses, allowing people from many walks of life, embracing varied spiritual practices and political beliefs, to benefit from the songs and deveikut (deep connection) of Chasidus. We hope that NeoHasid.org will evolve into a community-driven site, offering music and resources that people like you contribute.
Because we believe that men and women must be equal as leaders and creators of Judaism, NeoHasid will actively honor and promote the efforts of women to claim and speak for these traditions, while respecting the diverse ways that communities and individuals are creating a Judaism in which men and women are empowered.*
One of the sweetest aspects of the first Chasidic egalitarian minyan in Manhattan was that it brought together all kinds of Jews. People from very different communities became role models and teachers for each other, in a way that rarely happens. During the time that we davenned together, the divisions between the Yeshiva world, Chasidim, and non-Orthodox Jews of all stripes were erased. NeoHasid.org will work to model this kind of achdut (unity) by including teaching and offerings from people in every movement or denomination.
NeoHasid.org also hopes to track the use of Chasidic nusach in non-Chasidic contexts (in places like the Havurah movement for example), and to provide connections to help people find shuls and minyanim where this is happening today. We will add links to resources – i.e. CD's, tapes, books, classes – with an emphasis (whenever possible) on those sites that respect the diversity of Jewish practice (including Orthodox centers, like the Carlebach shul, that are intentionally inclusive of all types of Jews.) Our underlying message is that everyone can learn Chasidus and make it part of their religious practice.
We will encourage minyanim that already use some Chasidic nusach – whether they are Orthodox or egalitarian or any combination of the two – to deepen their connection. One very specific goal relates to the many minyanim that now use Reb Shlomo's tunes from "Shabbos in Shomayim" (including groups in Orthodox but non-Chasidic shuls). NeoHasid.org would like to connect those groups with the ruach (spirit) of the greater Chasidic tradition that lies before and behind Shlomo's tunes. NeoHasid.org will be a siyata (help) for these Shlomo minyanim to learn and use nigunim from Breslov, Lubavitch, and other Chasidic traditions, and to explore Chasidishe Torah, in order to deepen their connection to Chasidus.
The message and work of NeoHasid.org are part of the greater diverse phenomenon called "neo-Hasidism," which brings the fire and love that is part of the best Chasidus to the world beyond. NeoHasid.org will use its tools and resources to promote neo-Chasidus and to develop a vision of what neo-Hasidism can become.
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006