CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 1

CENTRAL

CONFERENCE

OF

AMERICAN

RABBIS

NEWS

Founded In

1889

‫אלול תשע''ז‬-‫אב‬-‫תמוז‬

Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

July * August 2017 | Volume 64 - Issue 6

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬

FROM THE PUBLISHER, CCAR PRESS AND CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER
Hara E. Person

FROM THE PRESIDENT
David Stern
I write this the day after
Shavuot, with the usual
day-after-Shavuot question:
what now? That's a
question not only for rabbis
contemplating muchdeserved summer vacations
(and the projects we swore
we'd get to right after
Simchat Torah), but for the Sinai generation and
every generation since: now that we've had the
mountain moment, how do we keep the mountain
portable? Or in one variation on the general
theme: now that we have the law, will the law be
enough?
That question creates the space not only for
Talmud and midrash, but for some important
insights of political science. As numerous
commentators have noted, our democracy
depends not only on law, but on norms. Harvard
political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel
Ziblatt observe: "Democratic institutions must be
reinforced by strong informal norms. Like a pickup
basketball game without a referee, democracies
work best when unwritten rules of the game,
known and respected by all players, ensure a
minimum of civility and cooperation. Norms serve
as the soft guardrails of democracy, preventing
political competition from spiraling into a chaotic,
no-holds-barred conflict."
The decline in American political norms is obvious.
The demonization of opponents, the adolescent
use of crude language to characterize dignified
public servants, the threatening of a free press
or a political adversary with retributive action,
and worst of all, the blanket characterization of
Muslims or immigrants as an invading menace-
all not only erode the fabric of political productivity
and cooperation, but corrode the democratic
ideals and institutions that have made America
great.
For us as Jews, this is a concern not only of the
moment, but of the ages. The significance of both
laws and norms lies at the heart of Jewish thought
and practice: one could understand kavanah as

The CCAR Press Bookshelf
Every publisher has an identity. A look through a publisher's catalog offers
clues, if not even explicit language, about that identity. Focus is critical for
publishers, and this is true for CCAR Press. In order to do our work well, we
have to be clear about the parameters of our work-that is, to be explicit
about who we are as a publisher.
CCAR Press publishes within four key areas. Historically, we began our
existence in the 19th century as a liturgical publisher for the Reform Movement. Today, CCAR Press
is the primary publisher of liberal Jewish liturgy in the world, and our prayer books and Haggadot
remain our biggest area in terms of actual sales. At this moment, our liturgical bookshelf is
expanding in exciting ways. This includes major liturgical publications like our newest offering,
Mishkah HaLev: Prayers for S'lichot and the Month of Elul edited by Janet and Shelly Marder, as
well as books about liturgy like the forthcoming Divrei Mishkan T'filah by Rick Sarason, and works
of creative liturgy like This Grateful Heart by Alden Solovy and an updated version of Marcia Falk's
breakthrough The Book of Blessings.
Our second area is the area of Jewish practice, that is, how we live our lives as Reform Jews.
Books like The Sacred Table, Gates of Shabbat, and our forthcoming Navigating the Journey are
examples of books in the area of Jewish practice. These two areas, of liturgy and practice, are the
areas in which CCAR Press has traditionally focused and served the CCAR membership and the
Reform Movement.
The two additional areas are newer. These areas, sacred text and certificates, are a result of
changes in the world of Jewish publishing. These areas are not actually new but rather renewed,
as CCAR Press has published in these areas in the past though not in recent years. Moreover,
these areas fit into the overall mission of serving our members, our communities, and the
Movement. As a renewed area, our publishing of sacred text has greatly expanded with CCAR's
absorption of classic Reform Movement texts like The Torah: A Modern Commentary and The
Torah: A Women's Commentary, and continues with forthcoming new titles like Songs Ascending:
A New Translation and Commentary on the Book of Psalms by Richard Levy. So too, our publishing
of new certificates has been renewed with the adoption of the URJ life-cycle certificates and will
continue to expand with new, updated certificates coming out in the next several years, with the
first batch coming this winter.
It is important to note that the word "publication" means print books, ebooks, apps, PDFs, and
Visual T'filah. All our publications are now available in multiple ways, with different options
available for different publications.
We have expanded what we are publishing, but we are still publishing within focused, defined
parameters: liturgy, practice, sacred text, and certificates. Staying focused on these areas allows
us to fulfill our mission to provide our members, the communities you serve, and the Jewish
community as a whole with the publications necessary to enhance Jewish life. At this moment, we
have twelve books in different stages of the editorial process and production. We look forward to
sharing them with you in the coming year.

(Continued on page 3)

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017

CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 1
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 2
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 3
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 4
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 5
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 6
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 7
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 8
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 9
CCAR Newsletter July - August 2017 - 10
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