CCAR Newsletter May-Jun 2013 - 1
Publication of the Central Conference of American rabbis
May/June 2013 | Volume 60 – issue 5
Volume 59 – Number 9
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
Publisher, CCAr Press
Hara E. Person
FrOM The PresiDeNT
What follows are excerpts
from my sermon at the
Conference service in
long beach. i hope you
will find them meaningful.
if you’d like to see the
unedited version, please let
in Hilchot Dei-ot, Maimonides describes three
dimensions of friendship: davar, d’agah, and
dei-ah. Davar is utilitarian—the practical things
we help each other obtain. D’agah connotes
mutual emotional support. Dei-ah involves
shared commitments that transcend our
personal needs and desires.
As chaverim l’davar, our needs include
placement, pension, publications, spiritual
and professional development. For 124 years,
the CCAr has helped rabbis find fulfilling
positions, provide for their families, develop
leadership skills, learn and transmit Torah, and
retire with dignity. in every aspect of its sacred
work, the Conference is more productive
and vital than at any time in memory. but…
even as we celebrate how much we do so
well for so many, we must strive relentlessly
for improvement and become, increasingly, a
Conference that esteems all types of rabbinate
and in which every rabbi matters….
This also has implications for us as chaverim
l’d’agah, as a caring collegial community. To
be a rabbi is an awesome privilege. sermons
and teaching enable us to open hearts, change
minds, and transform lives. And beyond their
specific content, the passion and conviction
with which we express them convey something
of the enduring relevance and resonance of
Mishkan HaNefesh: Our New High Holy Day Machzor
elative to the major task of a creating a new machzor, deciding on
a name might seem like a minor issue. in fact, it was very difficult to
find the right name. Over the course of two years, many names were
suggested. lists were made. sources of inspiration were sought. imagery
was weighed. Attention was paid to sound and pronunciation.
There were some contenders, but each one was eventually eliminated.
This one was too hard to pronounce. This one didn’t sound good to the
ear. This one captured only one aspect of the high holy Days but didn’t
apply overall. This name was already used by another machzor. it was
also important to maintain continuity between Mishkan T’filah and the
And so it was that the name Mishkan HaNefesh was presented to the
CCAr board at the recent pre-Convention meeting in March, where it
was enthusiastically received and approved. As elaine Zecher, the chair of
the Machzor Advisory Group explained, “mishkan” relates to the sense of
community and to the larger communal enterprise of the high holy Day
prayer experience, while “nefesh” speaks to the sense of the individual
soul, the personal experience. Mishkan HaNefesh is the place where the
communal meets the personal.
to serve the
while it uplifts
Mishkan HaNefesh is being created to serve the community while it uplifts the individual soul.
The editors are crafting material, thinking about flow, and considering placement, all components
of the communal experience, while also allowing for the individual participant to find a personal
path through the book. They do not assume that every person in the kahal is always going to be
on the same page, reading the same thing. rather, some people will wander, finding commentary
or a poem or a reading that speaks to them, or intrigues them, or challenges them.
The name Mishkan HaNefesh reflects the aspiration that this machzor will be a tool enabling a
meaningful experience in which the sacred space of the community is infused by the souls within
it engaged in the holy work of prayer, reflection, and repentance.
Mishkan HaNefesh is still in development. We are very grateful to everyone involved in piloting
and providing feedback. There is still much work yet to do, and much to think about. There are
many ways to be engaged in this process of machzor-making beyond piloting. The summer
edition of the CCAR Journal features a thoughtful, fascinating collection of essays related to the
machzor. ravblog, the CCAr blog, also features an ongoing collection of pieces related to the
machzor by many different colleagues, including some cantorial colleagues. All of these pieces,
along with the material in our publication Machzor: Challenge and Change, provide inspirational
material for high holy Day sermons, as well as for meaningful adult learning in your communities.
For more information about the machzor, including information about piloting, pre-order
information, and significant pre-publication discounts, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go
the machzor page on our website.
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