CCAR Newsletter Sept-Oct 2012 - 1
אלול תשע’’ב תשרי חשרן תשע״ג
FRom The PResiDeNT Jonathan A. Stein
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
september/october 2012 | Volume 60 – issue 1 Volume 56 – Number 9
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
FRom The DiReCToR AND PublisheR oF CCAR PRess Hara Person
our CCAR-organized trip to morocco in July was an extraordinary opportunity to visit and learn about this once thriving Jewish community and also to get to know new colleagues and spouses and partners during our week’s stay in Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and marrakesh and other smaller cities along the way. susan and i were pleased to travel with this wonderful group and to experience this CCAR offering as a participant. Following is a brief summary of our trip. morocco is a country full of color and contrast. From the moderate weather of the seacoast to the scorching heat of the interior and desert, the summer climate varies from the barely comfortable to the almost unbearable. There are major metropolitan areas with every modern luxury convenience (including free wi-fi) to bedouin tent gatherings reminiscent of ancient peoples (although they do have satellite TV!). City streets range from Prada and hermes to the historic markets with heads of camels freshly slaughtered, multiple varieties of olives neatly arranged in straight rows, and amazing, strange spices piled high in a rainbow of sensory delight. Arabic and French dominate the spoken languages, and dress varies from completely covered muslim women to young girls leaving little to the imagination. islam is the only religion present in the public arena while many people seem quite secular in their everyday appearance. We visited morocco primarily to trace and understand a bit about the glorious history of the Jewish community there. one thing that distinguishes this community is their veneration of tzaddikim, “righteous ones” or, as they translate into english, “saints.” We, who were raised with a Western-style rationalistic
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n the middle of July, i had the great privilege of participating in continuing professional education. however, the texts we studied were not Torah or Talmud, midrash, or mishnah—what we studied intensely for a week was books. That is, the making, selling, and reading of books themselves, or, as i heard over and over again, “pbooks and ebooks” (printed books and electronic books).
The class was the Yale Publishing Course: Leadership Strategies in Book Publishing. Fifty-five people from around the world, all of whom work in publishing, got to hear from publishing company Ceos, directors of digital initiatives, directors of digital publishing at businesses like Google and barnes and Noble, professors from Yale school of management and Yale school of business, lawyers specializing in publishing law, finance experts, librarians, and more. The sessions included things like “The Digital Paradox,” “Publishing in the Age of Globalization,” “managing organizations in Times of Disruption,” “Financial Realities in Publishing,” and “Publishing in a multi-Platform World.” For six days, i was in publishing-geek heaven.
“like the Jewish world, the publishing world is in a time of great transition...”
The course was, on one level, about change management for publishing professionals. like the Jewish world, the publishing world is in a time of great transition, or, as many of the presenters said, “disruption.” The world of digital publishing is exploding and expanding every day, and yet the management and finances of digital publishing are still extremely challenging. New expectations require different skill sets and sometimes new ways of staffing, and despite all the great possibilities that new media offer, the question remains of a) how to actually afford to do it all and b) how to monetize those possibilities. Again, not all that different from the challenges facing us in the Jewish world. The course presented me with many ideas about how to shepherd CCAR Press into the future. As a small (very small!) not-for-profit press, we have some unique challenges. And yet, it is amazing what we have already accomplished in the last few years. many of our books are already available on the various e-reading platforms like Kindle, Nook, and ibook. our work in the area of Visual T’filah has provided a new and creative way to experience worship. our liturgical apps allow ways for us to engage with CCAR liturgy in the digital realm. Work in all these areas continues as we add new apps, new Visual T’filah options, and new ebooks. ongoing updates in technology, including the ability to work more successfully with hebrew, will continue to create new possibilities for us. Yet funding is an enormous challenge. The ability to fully embrace digital publishing is an expensive proposition. To this end, we are actively engaged in efforts to find funding, and appreciate your leads and introductions. i am deeply grateful to the CCAR for enabling me to attend the Yale Publishing Course. i look forward to putting new ideas in motion as i work with my CCAR colleague Dan medwin and all of you to keep moving CCAR Press forward.