Polydox Institute Established in Memory of Dr. Alvin J. Reines, z"l
In memory of Dr. Alvin J. Reines z"l, family and friends have created a website containing his writings. His thinking challenged and transformed many lives. The officers of the Polydox Institute, a non-profit organization initiated toward the end of his life, invite you to re-visit his work at: www.polydoxinstitute.org.
This valuable resource is comprehensive in scope. You will find the Polydox Primer on the website which categorizes by topic 40 years of Dr. Reines' articles, essays, and liturgical material.
We hope this offering will benefit your rabbinical work in addressing the issues facing modern Jews and members of all religious communities.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Rabbi Michael Perelmuter
Rabbi Anthony D. Holz
Reverend Jarmo Tarkki
About the Polydox Institute
This website, in memory of Rabbi Alvin J. Reines, philosopher of religion and one of Reform Judaism's most creative thinkers, contains his life work on "Polydoxy," a term he coined to describe the nature and function of liberal religion.
A polydox religion is one in which the individual has the right to self-authority and freedom within religion. The varied beliefs and practices allowed and affirmed are the sources of its Greek name: poly (many) and doxa (opinion).
The Polydox Institute encourages personal autonomy and diversity in religious discourse. Polydox religions, whether Jewish, Christian, or other origin, embrace creative questions and responses to existence.
We offer this website as an educational resource with hope for the future.
Hera Reines, Chairperson of the Board
Rabbi Michael Perelmuter, Co-director
Rev. Jarmo Tarkki, Ph.D., Co-director
P.O.Box 20044, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Frequently asked questions about Polydoxy
What is a "Polydoxy"?
Reines: A polydoxy is a religion whose fundamental principle is that every person is her or his own ultimate religious authority with the right, therefore, to accept and follow whichever religious beliefs and observances she or he thinks true and meaningful... All beliefs regarding the great subjects of religion such as the meaning of the word God or the existence and nature of an afterlife are equally acceptable. The fundamental principle of a polydoxy may be stated in terms of a covenant, the Covenant of Freedom: Every member of a polydox community pledges to affirm the freedom of all other members in return for their pledges to affirm her or his own. Equally binding in a polydoxy is the corollary of the Covenant of Freedom: Every member's freedom ends where the other members' freedom begins.
What is the polydox definition of religion?
Reines: Religion is the human person's response to the conflict of finitude. Stated more fully: (it) is the human person's response to the psychic conflict produced by the clash between the awareness of finity and...the passionate desire not to be finite...The ideal purpose of a religion is to provide a response...to resolve the conflict and....attain a state of ultimate meaningful existence...(or) soteria.
Where is God in Polydoxy?
Reines: ...In the course of Jewish history, Jews have subscribed to...different and conflicting views regarding the word God...ranging from monotheism to pantheism to agnosticism. It is only in a polydoxy, where theological freedom prevails, that the polydox community as a whole grants to its individual members the freedom to determine for themselves (any) meaning and use regarding the word God.
Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s oldest institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement’s congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR’s campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish history, identity, art, and archaeology, and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.