CCAR Newsletter Nov - Dec 2016 - 1
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
November * December 2016 | Volume 64 - Issue 1
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Denise L. Eger
Steven A. Fox
We have been living
in the strangest times.
With the ugly rhetoric
of the United States
it seems a fact is no
longer true. Lies and
opinions have taken
the place of truth.
The divisive political
season is ending in the United States, but
the damage is done and it has been done
on a world-wide stage. It isn't isolated to the
U.S., but is a trend around the world.
When a group of us went on the CCAR
mission to the Syrian refugees in Germany
this August, we saw the same kind of lies
and fear mongering. We saw posters filled
with hateful words against the refugees.
The rise of a new alt-right there brings back
our own nightmares and those of many
Germans. Certainly, the Brexit vote this
summer in England is part of the same train
When UNESCO votes to remove Jews
and Judaism from its historic and holy
connection to Eretz Yisrael, we see lies that
seek to become truth.
When the BDS movement infiltrates our
college campuses spreading their brand of
hatred, more lies seek to become truth.
There have always been spin-masters and
shadings of the truth, omissions and errors
that come with every political campaign
and anti-Semitic jab. There have been other
periods in history when lies were spread
about groups of people for political or
monetary gain. Our Jewish history is filled
with examples of the horrors perpetrated on
our ancestors both ancient and modern.
I believe this gives our rabbinates a special
calling and particularly our CCAR a special
(Continued on page 6)
Replacing the Placement Director
As I write these words, we are in the midst of the High Holy Day season. For rabbis
of the CCAR, it is an intensely busy time as you lead your congregations and
communities through the Holy Day experience in prayer, study, and reflection; all
the while beginning your programmatic year, school year, and relationship-building,
especially for those who are in new positions. Please know that all of us at the CCAR
are truly grateful for your leadership and service.
As CCAR president Denise Eger and I have written you on a couple of occasions,
this will be a year of transition within the CCAR. Our current placement director, Alan Henkin, will be
assuming a new position on July 1, 2017, as special advisor to the Conference. We have designed a
transition and search process to hire a new member of the Senior Staff with primary responsibilities for
the Placement Office. (In case you missed it, you may find our August 25, 2016 letter at ccarnet.org/
placement/ccar-senior-staff-hiring-initiative/ and our May 23, 2016 letter at ccarnet.org/media/
As you might imagine, we are receiving applications from many wonderful rabbis. It has been a challenge
to determine the best potential matches for the position of placement director from the significant number
of capable candidates who have applied; to select one colleague among many who has the right
combination of experience, skill-sets, qualities, and capacities detailed in the position description.
By the time you read this in our Nenwsletter, we will have narrowed the search to two or three people
who best fit the profile of the position. We are extremely grateful to every rabbi who has applied, along
with the CCAR elected leadership led by Denise Eger and an outstanding task force from the Placement
Commission chaired by Michael White, who are helping in this process. This includes a Placement
Commission representative from the CCAR, the URJ, and HUC-JIR. All of them will help inform the final
In addition to the technical side of replacing the placement director, we are also working hard on other
transition issues. In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, we recognize that there are
numerous constituencies whose thoughts, feelings, and needs must be addressed. Of course, this includes
the most obvious people-the rabbis in placement at the current time or anticipating placement in 2018,
all of whom who have already begun to work with Alan, along with the congregations and organizations
that are in the same position. In addition, the entire CCAR office is going through its own transition period
with Alan moving to a new position. We are creating a structured way in which we can say goodbye to
him as he begins his new position and hello to the new placement director. We will also honor Alan at the
2017 CCAR Convention and throughout the regional meetings across North America. It is an opportunity
to express our appreciation to him for his leadership for many years, both as the director of Rabbinic
Placement for the CCAR and in his prior positions as a regional director and district rabbi with the URJ.
Alan has and will continue to dedicate his life to the Reform rabbinate, congregations and communities,
and Jewish life.
Of course, for me too, there is a period of transition. Alan and I have worked together on placement
issues for many years, long before either of us began working at the CCAR when we were both living in
Los Angeles and working with rabbis and congregations. Our relationship will continue professionally and
personally in the years to come, as will Alan's relationships with so many of you. As we know, especially
during this High Holy Day season, transition is a part of Jewish life. High Holy Days. Shabbat. Life cycle.
And professional positions as well. As we make these transitions, we hope and pray that each of you, the
Placement Office, and the CCAR as a whole will continue from strength to strength.