CCAR Newsletter Nov-Dec 2014 - 1
חשון כסלו/טבת תשע״ה
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
November * December 2014 | Volume 62 - Issue 2
איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים
FROM THE INTERIM MANAGER OF LIFELONG LEARNING
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Among the most problematic
venues for supporters of Israel
are college campuses where
Jewish and other pro-Israel
students often feel besieged.
Recently, four students at
Ohio University, including
our cantor's daughter, were
arrested at a student senate
meeting. They were denouncing the student senate
president's posting a YouTube video demonizing
Israel and advocating BDS. I want to share the
letter I sent to OU President McDavis following a
phone call with him to discuss the situation.
Dear President McDavis,
Thank you very much for this morning's call.
I found our conversation to be cordial,
constructive, and frank. Given its informality, I
thought it prudent to reiterate in writing the points I
made, for your further consideration. I appreciated
the opportunity to hear your perspective on the
events leading to and following from the arrest
of the four students at the recent Student Senate
meeting. Your sincere intentions are apparent.
These must now find expression in forward-thinking
leadership and concrete, constructive actions.
The Jewish Community of Northeast Ohio
remains outraged and deeply disappointed
that OU brought criminal charges against these
students for what amounted to speaking out of
turn. If their conduct warranted removal from the
meeting, doing that would have sufficed to restore
order and allow the meeting to proceed without
escalating the matter beyond all proportion.
As you know, others present at the meeting,
including other students, outsiders, and at least
one OU faculty member, engaged in disruptive,
abusive, threatening, and intimidating behavior
toward the four students. This misconduct was far
more serious than speaking at the wrong point
on the agenda, and it clearly violated values that
you rightly espouse: civility, respect, diversity,
and protecting personal safety. Yet, while the
university has proceeded with both criminal and
CCAR: The Central Address for Rabbinic Lifelong Learning
The lifelong program book that recently arrived in your mail, and is available
online at ccarnet.org/lifelong-learning/, demonstrates the CCAR's desire
to be the central address for rabbinic lifelong learning. It is a reflection of our
priorities in 5775 and who we seek to be in the future. It is the result of the time
and insights of large numbers of our colleagues, the CCAR staff, and HUC-JIR
students. So although it may not be as worthy of study as some of our sacred
texts, it deserves our examination and conversation. Let's take a deeper look, and
as ideas arise, please share them with me and with one another:
"A Special Series for Rabbis Leading Small Congregations" (p. 6) / "Community-Based Rabbis:
A Community of Practice" (p. 8)
* About half of CCAR members serve as congregational rabbis, and of those a significant number
serve small congregations. How can we meet the lifelong learning needs of the diverse constituencies
of our membership? What should be the next career focus for which we design a series?
* We all know that programs work best when the ideas come from the desired participants. As such,
our "Rabbis Leading Small Congregations" series was designed by a team of rabbis leading small
congregations. They set the topics for the sessions, while the CCAR staff found the expert speakers
and set up the series. The Community-Based Rabbis series will be designed by community-based
rabbis who attend a session at Convention, and/or participate in the webinar on May 21, and/or
contact the CCAR staff over the next year. How do we ensure that our programming reflects what our
membership seeks to learn?
* We are all educators. We know that teleconferences are not always the best form of distance learning.
So we are transitioning to a webinar model and, in some cases, one in which the participants can see
and interact with one another. What are other educational models and technologies we can use to
reach diverse learners?
"Text Study Series: Prophetic Call to Justice: A Series on Human Rights" (p. 6)
* Being intentional students is part of what makes us good teachers. How do we make high-caliber text
study accessible to our membership?
* Rabbis Organizing Rabbis has amplified the voices of many of our colleagues who see social justice
as integral to their rabbinates. What do we need to inspire us to hear that prophetic call?
* This series reflects a focus of our Convention. How can we better integrate Convention and our
learning over the rest of the year?
"Israel Leadership Trip: Never Led a Trip to Israel?"/ "Israel: Sustainability for the Body and Soul" (p. 11)
* Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to engage with Israel in all of its complexity, regardless of our
political perspectives. How do we do that best as rabbis? These trips demonstrate our belief that there
is no better way to engage with Israel than to be there, hearing from experts, asking our questions,
and seeing things with our own eyes.
(Continued on page 3)
(Continued on page 3)