CCAR Newsletter Sep-Oct 2013 - 1
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Sept/oct 2013 | Volume 61 – Issue 1
Volume 59 – Number 9
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
FRoM THE CCAR NEWSLETTER EDIToR
ReBeCCa einstein sChoRR
FRoM THE PRESIDENT
When colleagues discover that i am the CCAR Newsletter editor,
i am usually offered sympathies and condolences. an odd
According to the wellworn maxim, the High
Holy Days are either early
or late, but never on time,
and I cannot recall when, if
ever, in my rabbinic career,
that they came as early
as they do this year. For
those of us who are blessed and burdened
with pulpit responsibilities, the pressure to
craft meaningful, stimulating, and inspiring
sermons is considerable, even enormous.
While I don’t remember a great deal from my
senior placement interviews at HUC-JIR, one
question, put to me by our colleague Alvin
Sugarman, struck me as particularly thoughtprovoking and memorable. He asked, “If
you could only give one sermon, what would
its theme be?” I don’t know precisely what
I answered, but the gist of my reply was, “I
think that, fundamentally, each of us has only
one basic sermon that we deliver in a myriad
of specific, differentiated ways. Mine is based
on the idea that our deepest human need
is to experience meaning, which Judaism
enables us to do, profoundly.” After thirtyfive years of High Holy Days as a rabbinical
student and a rabbi, I’m still giving that
sermon. My most daunting task is to present
it in new, fresh, and ever more impactful
ways. Fortunately, both the Torah and torah
are inexhaustible resources, and the world
and life itself continue to provide chomer
l’drush, as we strive to teach and motivate,
open minds and hearts, comfort the afflicted
and afflict the comfortable.
An even more monumental challenge than
sermonic formulation and service planning
is inward personal preparation. As rabbis,
we advise people to view the Days of Awe
as a marathon, rather than a sprint, and to
engage in spiritual preparation throughout
the month of Elul and during Aseret Y’mei
T’shuvah. We urge them to invest time and
(Continued on page 11)
How many of us have been late with a bulletin article? How many times?
How many of us have been harangued by our volunteer bulletin editor?
How many times?
Beware, I caution, beware. There is no finer display of Divine retribution
than being called to edit the CCAR Newsletter. For I have clearly been chosen to repay my sin of
And it is a calling that has brought great gifts into my life: relationships and encounters with
colleagues with whom I might not have had any other chance to meet.
The CCAR provides a plethora of learning opportunities and valuable resources. Strip that all
away and we are left with the most invaluable treasure of all: True friends. Who uphold us.
Share with us. Guide us. And love us.
In an effort to encourage more meaningful encounters, we will be highlighting CCAR Board
members in each newsletter issue. It is our belief that our Conference is only as strong as the
connections that bind us together.
May this new year of 5774 bring new friends and deeper relationships into our lives and may
God find reason to sit among us.
Thanks To CareneT “kesher” VolunTeers!
n August 13 we
posted a request
for a volunteer to
“companion” a colleague
recently diagnosed with breast
cancer. Within an hour, two
colleagues had responded to our posting to
CCAR’s Facebook page! Next day, others
came forward who’d read our requests on
RAVKAV and HUCALUM. We were quickly
able to make a “Kesher.” We’re grateful for
their caring concern.
CareNet’s KESHER offers a way for those
who are struggling with an issue to connect
with those who have already struggled
with the same kind of difficulty and are
prevailing. KESHER will create and maintain
a list of rabbis who volunteer to partner
with colleagues seeking supportive collegial
conversations rather than formal counseling.
If you have struggled and prevailed over serious
illness, trauma, or tragedy and are willing to offer
supportive conversation and companionship
to a colleague in distress, please write to us
at email@example.com. Tell us a bit about
yourself and your experience, to help us make
Todah meirosh v’shanah tovah um’tukah,
Steve & Connie
Connie Golden, NY ‘84
Stephen Arnold, C ‘61