CCAR April 2013 Convention Newsletter - (Page 1)
THE 124TH ANNUAL
THE CENTRAL CONFERENCE
OF AMERICAN RABBIS
March 3–6, 2013, Long Beach, CA
Rav Todot for creating the
124th ccAR convention 2013
n intricate dance among our volunteer
Convention Committee, CCAR
staff, and outside consultants/
vendors provided the best of the best to
our colleagues at our recent Convention in
Southern California. Convention Committee
chair Asher Knight, vice-chair michael
Weinberg, and our committee members
contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer
time to make this Convention such a stunning
reality. For their vision and implementation
of the theme, “Rabbis Leading the Shift,”
we thank members Tom Alpert, Wendi
Geffen, Adam Grossman, howard Laibson,
Steven moskowitz, Jessica oleon, Brigitte
Rosenberg, Daniel Septimus, Keith Stern,
max Weiss, and local colleagues heidi Cohen,
Stephen einstein, Paul Kipnes, Joel Simonds,
and Rachel Timoner.
hara, Alan and Dan)
delights in the opportunity to see so many
members in one place and to engage in brief
and not so brief conversations. We relish
the opportunity to visit, to hear how you
and your family are doing, to respond to any
inquiries you have or challenges you may be
facing, and simply to be with you. our onsite
team worked very hard to make it all run
smoothly, and we are very grateful to ortal
Bensky, marketing and Sales Associate; Alx
Block, Sales and marketing Director; Laurie
Kurzynowski, CFo/Director of operations;
Laura mardiks, Development manager,
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
FRom The CCAR ChieF exeCuTive
voiceS oF optimiSm
n the past few years, i have left each annual CCAR Convention, regional
event, and other gathering of our rabbinic colleagues with an increasing
sense of optimism, after having heard optimistic voices.
This is not to say that rabbis have on blinders to the realities of life. in fact, it’s
just the opposite. in advance of the recent 2013 CCAR Convention, members
identified nearly fifty “shifts” impacting their communities and their private and
professional lives. The Convention itself then began with taking a hard look at
these shifting realities.
As the leaders and spiritual guides of Reform Judaism, Reform rabbis face numerous challenges
and obstacles in our own rabbinates and communities. in Long Beach, we considered these shifts
and the ways in which they are changing the world that we know. But it is how we are choosing
to deal with these obstacles that defines us as a voice of forward momentum and positive change
in our communities and in the Reform movement. Rabbinic colleagues are, more and more,
approaching challenges as opportunities to rethink our rabbinates, the nature of the communities
we serve, and the ways in which we build sacred communities. We are facing issues head on with
a renewed sense of optimism and hope.
one of the reasons for my personal optimism is the emergence of a new generation of rabbinic
leaders. At the 2013 Convention, we had forty-four “first-timers,” colleagues who had never before
attended a CCAR Convention, most of whom had been ordained in recent years. We also have
many more recently ordained rabbis involved in Convention planning, book publications, and other
aspects of CCAR life. These newer colleagues have been showing up, not just physically but also
emotionally, intellectually, and creatively.
our new colleagues bring a sense of energy and excitement to the rabbinate for all of us. They are:
• open-minded and openhearted to redefinitions of rabbinic life.
• Not bound by old models of institutions that have for generations defined how and what the
Jewish community may be.
• open to ways of experimentation within existing institutions and with new ways of reaching out to
Jews in our communities.
• on the cusp of new ways of thinking, organizing, understanding text, and applying Jewish value
to contemporary issues.
most importantly, and most enjoyably, all of these qualities are contagious and infectious to the
entire rabbinic community. As i was able to observe at Convention, these qualities are further
enhanced when mixed with the voices of more experienced colleagues, who bring their wisdom,
perspective, and experience. i hope that you share my feelings of optimism as together all
generations of Reform rabbis will help move the Jewish community into new, undefined ways of
engaging Jews in Jewish life.
(Continued on page 5)
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CCAR April 2013 Convention Newsletter