CCAR September 2011 Newsletter - 1
אלול תשע”א-תשרי תשע״ב
Volume 56 –Number 1 59– Number 9
FROM THE PRESIDENT Jonathan A. Stein FROM THE NEW DIRECTOR OF PLACEMENT Alan Henkin
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
I’ve been contemplating trying to find an opening line for this column for some weeks now and have yet to find the right combination of words except for two: Thank You. Thank you for the outpouring of support that I have experienced since my mother died in early August. Thank you for the cards, the calls, the contributions, the condolences, the comforting words. I am so grateful to all of you who made a shivah call at our home and those who helped to make the minyan such a spiritually uplifting moment for me. I realize now more than ever what it means to be part of a sacred, caring, collegial community, and my appreciation for its power to heal has been reinforced once again.
(Continued on page 3)
y apartment in Brooklyn was supposed to be ready for move-in on July 1st, but like all construction timetables, this one fell hopelessly behind schedule. Nonetheless, thanks to the kindness of friends who housed and fed me during those early weeks, I was able to begin as your Director of Rabbinic Placement on July 1st, and the last three months have been exhilarating and provocative. The responsibility for the Placement Office, and for the placement process, is a sacred obligation which I regard as pivotal to the well-being of our CCAR members, our URJ congregations, HUC-JIR ordinees, and the Reform Movement as a whole. All beginnings are moments of gratitude—gratitude to conclude that which led up to the beginning, gratitude to those who made the beginning possible, and gratitude for the opportunity to start something new. I have come to this position after a decade of service to the Union for Reform Judaism, first as the Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Council and then as the Union Rabbi of the West District. During my tenure with the URJ, I learned an immense amount about rabbis, congregations, and the fascinating interaction between the two. At the URJ, I found most gratifying the work that I did with rabbis in placement and congregations in search. I am grateful to the URJ and to all my colleagues there for directing me onto the path to become Placement Director. (Continued on page 2)
“I am delighted to join the colleagues at the CCAR.”
FROM THE EDITOR Rebecca Einstein Schorr It all began with a Tweet. @frumesarah: RT @ravcookie: #ccar11 Steve Fox- bring younger leaders into the conversation// hineini Translation: At last March’s convention, Alan Cook repeated Steve Fox’s request to bring younger colleagues into the conversation. And I responded, “pick me.” Truthfully, I have little recollection of my fateful Tweet. Probably because I send scores of Tweets six days a week. What made the above Tweet especially significant is that someone was paying attention. Three months later, I received a call from Steve Fox, asking me to assume the editorial responsibilities of the CCAR Newsletter. “Pick me.” When I first spoke with our immediate past editor, Sally Priesand, the first thing she wanted to know was whether I am serving a congregation. And she was relieved to hear that I have just recently stepped away from congregational life in order to better serve the needs of our family because “I’d be a little worried if you were juggling the Newsletter along with synagogue responsibilities.” The cyclical nature of the Jewish calendar makes this a natural time for transitions. Earlier in our issue, we read of our new director of placement’s transitions, both geographical and professional. A number of the Voices of Torah deal, as well, with spiritual transitions; past to present, life to death, repentance to forgiveness. This issue marks a significant transition in my life as I move from the pulpit to the pews. Motivated by the ever-increasing special needs of our son, Benjamin, and the impact that those needs have on his siblings, Lillian and Jacob, our cross1
country relocation last month was done for all of the right reasons. But knowing that choices are the right ones does little to make them easier. Hineini. Here I am. Pick me. An appropriate response when called to sacred work. The sacred work of serving the People Israel. The sacred work of nurturing and parenting children. The sacred work of contributing those talents, gifted by the Holy One, for a greater purpose. It is with gratitude to those editors before me who answered hineini, and who have offered much-welcomed advice, that I look forward to serving God and our sacred community in this new position. And may the Holy One continue to guide us all as we experience whatever transitions are ahead in this new year of 5772. L’shanah tovah tikateivu!