How the Sum­mer

The Jewish Voice - - PARSHA - (This ar­ti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished by the Jew­ish News of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Rob Gloster is J.'s se­nior writer. He can be reached at rob@jweekly. com.

al ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Rabbi Aubrey Glazer of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Sholom in San Fran­cisco said “this was their way of bring­ing the wan­der­ing Jews back to Ju­daism.”

“It re­ally showed us the ge­nius of Amer­i­can Ju­daism be­ing able to in­cor­po­rate el­e­ments of Amer­i­can cul­ture,” he said. “Shlomo asked what’s go­ing on in sec­u­lar cul­ture that’s at­tract­ing the Jews, and let’s make it our own.”

Ram Dass some­times spoke at the House of Love and Prayer, where nuns, Bud­dhists and Hin­dus also were fre­quent guests. Coop­er­smith said the singing and danc­ing at Fri­day night ser­vices of­ten stretched into the early morn­ing.

“The doors were al­ways open. The chal­lenge with that was we never said no to any­one, so all kinds of peo­ple could be wan­der­ing in and ask­ing to sleep there. There were huge pots of rice and veg­gies and soup. On a typ­i­cal Shab­bos when Shlomo wasn’t there, there would be 150 to 200 peo­ple,” Coop­er­smith said. “When Shlomo was there, you put all that on steroids.”

The House of Love and Prayer dis­solved by 1977, though an off­shoot with the same name still ex­ists in Ts­fat, Is­rael. But its legacy lives on in cer­tain Amer­i­can Jew­ish cir­cles, with its fo­cus on com­mu­nity build­ing, joy­ous prayer and havu­rah groups.

“I think that the whole Jew­ish Re­newal thing came out of it and the ser­vices I go to now, Ur­ban Adamah, Wilder­ness To­rah, they def­i­nitely have hip­pie in­flu­ence,” Felix said. “That was the dream peo­ple had. They kind of or­ga­nized it into in­sti­tu­tions for the next gen­er­a­tions.”

Langer said the House of Love and Prayer showed that “peo­ple want pas­sion, to be pas­sion­ate about Ju­daism. And they want song and some­thing that touches their heart.”

Glazer pointed to Bay Area groups such as The Kitchen as out­growths of the com­mu­nal spirit of the House of Love and Prayer.

“At the end of the day, it con­trib­uted im­mensely to the re­vival of Amer­i­can Ju­daism,” he said. “We’re still learn­ing and ab­sorb­ing the lessons that were be­ing taught at the House of Love and Prayer, that’s it’s im­por­tant to con­nect peo­ple on more than just an in­tel­lec­tual and a litur­gi­cal way.

“That’s what the House of Love and Prayer was able to ab­sorb from the larger hip­pie move­ment — the need to let go of some of the walls that keep us apart and to ac­tu­ally be real and to be hu­man and wear your soul on your sleeve.”

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