Jews have a unique relationship to science. While Judaism has historically embraced science without much struggle, today many Jews see science and religion as independent, rather than mutually enhancing. Scientists in Synagogues will thus aim to explore, enhance and then showcase the variety of ways in which Jewish scientists integrate their scientific work with their Jewish life.
In November 2014, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Program on Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) partnered with Sinai and Synapses, an organization focused on the relationship between Judaism and science, for a Jewish workshop as part of the John Templeton Foundation-funded Perceptions Project. The workshop led to several insights, the most salient of which was a need and a desire to better integrate science into Jewish communal life.
Scientists in Synagogues is a direct result of this workshop, and is designed to give rabbis, scientists, congregants, students, and the population at large opportunities to explore science and religion collaboratively in a specifically Jewish setting. It will be a pilot project run by Sinai and Synapses, which is incubated at Clal - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. The AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion will be a partner for this initiative, as well.
Ten synagogues from across the Jewish world will be identified. The rabbis of these synagogues will then select a handful of scientists who are members of their communities who will become ambassadors and role models for integrating Judaism and science in their own life and their own work.
Through grass-roots programming, relationship-building, and exploration of crucial issues, Scientists in Synagogues will begin to show the Jewish community how to integrate science and Judaism in meaningful and productive ways, and present findings for future studies, programming, and ideas in the scientifically-rich Jewish community.