CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 1


‫סיון תשע''ט‬/‫אייר‬
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
MAY * JUNE 2019 | Volume 66 - Issue 5

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬

Ron Segal

Steven A. Fox

In Bryan Stevenson's Just
Mercy, the author shares
a powerful narrative about
his justice work fighting
mass incarceration, extreme
for people of color-
and our broken criminal
justice system. The reader is quickly swayed by
Stevenson's argument for proximity. "You can't
understand most of the important things from a
distance," he writes. "You have to get close."

This is indeed a moment of transition in Jewish life, in the CCAR, and for me
personally. I write this column-my final as your CCAR chief executive-on
the eve of Pesach, which marks the moment of one of the most fundamental
transitions in the history of the Jewish People: the transition from Egypt to
the desert to Israel; from enslavement to freedom; from the known to the
unknown. Our yearly celebrations of the Pesach story are only some among
the many ritual moments of transitioning we observe as Jews. In fact, we are
often called "The People of Transitions"-
celebrating Pesach, Shabbat, Havdalah, life-cycle celebrations,
and many more.

The benefit of proximity was certainly affirmed
during Stevenson's compelling address on
Tuesday evening at the CCAR Convention, but
also throughout the week as one significant
moment followed another: the highlight of
Steve Fox's thirteen years as chief executive, a
celebration of our chief executive-elect Hara
Person, which included a presentation of her
exciting vision for our Conference, a day of
learning at HUC-JIR that included remarks by
the College's new president, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld,
and many more memorable and engaging
experiences. Thanks to the dedicated efforts
and leadership of Rick Kellner and his
Convention Planning Committee, all who
were "proximate" enjoyed a meaningful week
of learning and chevruta.
However, this raises yet again the distressing
and unfortunate reality that, for too many of
our colleagues, attending the annual CCAR
Convention is simply not a possibility. Limited
finances, lack of available time, physical
limitations or an inability to travel, or perceived
relevance to one's career-these and other
variables all hinder proximity and often translate
to lack of access or connection to the CCAR in
general. In my first column, I sincerely want all of
our colleagues for whom this reality resonates to
know that we are serious about the commitment
to address this significant challenge, as

In the midst of the CCAR transition, as I complete my
thirteen-year tenure as chief executive, I am filled with many
emotions. Looking back, I remain humbled by my experiences
and the trust that you have placed in me. I was honored to
serve and lead this very special community.

Looking back,
I remain
humbled by my
experiences and
the trust that
you have placed
in me.

In reviewing files as I begin to pack my office, I feel a great
sense of pride in all that we have accomplished together:
rebuilding the infrastructure and finances of the CCAR so
that today, we are financially stable and looking to a future
of sustainability; enhancing Torah study and professional
development by creating the Continuing Education Program, and now making it more and more
accessible through small in-person seminars and webinars; engaging in social justice activities
anchored in Jewish text and values; launching the Member Support Study that is beginning to
impact how we support one another in our personal and professional lives; rebuilding publications
of the CCAR from what we (jokingly) said was one publication every ten years to ten publications
a year; renewing Convention at the same basic cost by adding outside funding for programs
and scholarships; laying the foundations for the next phase of Placement and Employment with a
new task force and a soon to be initiated study to better serve a rapidly changing rabbinate; and
advocating for hundreds of rabbis in their individual job settings, and for the rabbinate as a whole.
I also am filled with a sense of sadness over the losses to come: the loss of daily contact
with you-the amazing rabbis who work in numerous settings serving and leading the Jewish
People; the loss of engaging regularly with our dedicated leadership and volunteers; and, of
course, partnering constantly with the most fantastic staff at the CCAR, especially with our senior
leadership team Rabbi Hara Person, Laurie Pinho, Rabbi Betsy Torop, and Rabbi Cindy Enger.
A true sense of optimism also fills me these days: optimism for the rabbinate, for the CCAR,
and for the Jewish community. Optimism, because I know our CCAR rabbis to be committed to
innovation and anchored in tradition, in text, and in Jewish values; optimism, because I know our
CCAR rabbis to be creative and willing to experiment; optimism, because I know our CCAR rabbis
to live to the highest education and ethical values; and because of you who stand up proudly as
Reform rabbis and members of the CCAR.
(Continued on page 4)

(Continued on page 4)


CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019

CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 1
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 2
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 3
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 4
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 5
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 6
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - i1
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - i2
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - i3
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - i4
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 7
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 8
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 9
CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 10
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CCAR Newsletter May/June 2019 - 12