I suggested the book Moral Clarity by Susan Neiman to Avi in his comments. He responded that it looks like Renewal for liberals. I thought it would be good to continue that conversation here. For those of you who aren't familiar with Susan Neiman, she's a moral philosopher who embraces Enlightenment values. The only similarity between her and Renewal that I can see is that her moral and political values lean to the left. Generally, when it's viewed as a movement, Renewal has been considered further to the left than any of the other movements. When other movements were addressing questions about gays or transgendered individuals, Renewal was dealing with questions of how to address polyamory because the full acceptance of and equality for GLBTI folks in its communities wasn't ever a question. Polyamory is something that was practiced by members of the community but isn't as common anymore. It was one of many things picked up during the 60's. Some Renewal thinkers have gone back to try and show that Jewish texts are not against homosexual acts or to show that halachah can be made to allow for homosexual acts because that is important to them, but other people in Renewal could care less about such activities. In either case the assumption is that homosexual acts are not only okay, but can be just as holy and sacred as heterosexual acts in the eyes of God. To paraphrase from a recent speech by Jay Michaelson addressing the killing at the GLBT community center in Israel, "Love is what matters. It doesn't matter whether it's heterosexual or homosexual." YouTube - Jay Michaelson of Nehirim speaks at Vigil for Victims of Attack on Tel Aviv LGBT Youth Center It doesn't take much reading to realize that Jay is very into Renewal ideas. He also happens to be one of my favorite contemporary theologians alongside R' Art Green and Reb Zalman, although at times he can be too syncretic for my tastes. There are many political and social activists within the movement. I think Avi, that you confuse rationalism for liberalism. Neither are all rationalists liberal, nor are all liberals rationalists. Maybe from reading Integral Halacha you get the idea that Renewal's not liberal because as a Reform Jew you associate anything to do with halacha with conservatism, but that isn't at all the case. It may also be that you didn't understand the book. What the book suggests is the radical change of halachic methodology to be more individualized and less rigid, to let an individual person's inner experience of the Divine inform the shaping of their religious practice. The difference between say, Renewal and Reform is that while Reform has tended to reject myth, mysticism and ritual and attempted to treat Judaism as a rationalist philosophy, Renewal unapologetically embraces all of those things. It looks at how all of that can be translated so it's compatible with progressive and mystically-informed values. Not everyone's mystically-inclined and I don't think Renewal is for everyone for that reason. I like the Integral Halachah text because it attempts to ground some of Renewal's innovations back in tradition a little more. At its extremes Renewal gets too New Agey and syncretic for me. Maybe better examples for you of renewal are things like: Tikkun Magazine - A Jewish Magazine, an Interfaith Movement and The Shalom Center | A prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, & American life which emphasize the social activist elements. There's also the book, The Left Hand of God by Michael Lerner Amazon.com: The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right (9780060842475): Michael Lerner: Books which in part addresses the increasing trend of confusing liberalism for secularism and the need to allow Spirit into liberal politics. But perhaps we should define terms. How do you define liberal and how do you define conservative? Do you distinguish between liberal religion and liberal politics? How would you define each of those ideas? Hopefully BB will also have a little time to weigh in on this discussion. He and I have maintained an on-and-off discussion about Renewal for a few years. His perspective of Renewal is probably more at odds with your view than mine is. I'll be on vacation through Wed and not sure whether I'll have 'net access. But if I do I'll be responding less frequently.