CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 1


‫תשרי תשע"י‬/‫אלול תשע"ט‬
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
September * October 2019 | Volume 67 - Issue 1

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬
Cindy G. Enger

Ron Segal
The Sages taught a baraita
(Shabbat 34b) addressing the
challenges that arise regarding
the time bein hash'emashot-
the period of twilight-for they
deemed it a time of uncertainty.
It is uncertain whether twilight
consists of both day and night,
it is uncertain whether it is completely day, and it is
uncertain whether it is completely night. (Ultimately,
the Sages determined to impose any stringencies
related to both days during the twilight period.)
With thoughts of Elul and the impending arrival of the
Holy Days and Festivals no doubt in mind, it seems
that this time period is regrettably characterized by a
gnawing and worrisome sense of uncertainty as well.
Serious matters lay on the horizon, each with potential
outcomes that could have significant implications.
Yet with no way to know what will transpire, and a
lack of clarity about how best to proceed, many are
confronting a sense of uncertainty that is unsettling if
not paralyzing.
* The second round of elections in Israel that will take
place in the middle of this month. For many in our
rabbinic community, aspirations for new leadership
driven by heartfelt concern for Israel's soul and
character hinge on the outcome of these elections,
but the unpredictable nature of Israeli politics means
we must sit with the angst of uncertainty for a bit
* The heart-wrenching decline of basic humanity and
compassion in our society. The devastating reality
confronting migrants, asylum seekers, immigrants,
and others in our country has triggered our deep
desire to effect desperately needed change, which
hindered by an uncertainty of how best to leverage
our passion, training, and tradition in order to
realize it.
* The ever-growing plague of antisemitism,
inspiring renewed insecurity and vulnerability
throughout our Jewish communities. How we can
meaningfully reassure others at present remains
unclear, especially when so many colleagues are
(Continued on page 3)

As I sit down to write this article, we have just launched the CCAR Placement and
Employment Services Survey. This is the first time that we are collecting meaningful data from
all CCAR members regarding your experiences with, and needs surrounding, placement and
employment services. Your survey responses will assist the CCAR in our efforts to enhance
and strengthen rabbinic placement and employment services, supports, and experiences.
Thank you to the members of the CCAR Placement and Employment Evaluation Team,
which is made up of a diverse cross-section of CCAR members and representatives from
the Rabbinical Placement Commission, for their dedication and thoughtfulness throughout
the survey design process. Partnering with Sharp Insight, the evaluation firm the CCAR has retained to conduct the
study, has been a great pleasure, and I am grateful to Jana Sharp and Kristen Deegan for their insights, attention to
detail, and sensitivity to the significance of this project for the CCAR and the larger Reform Jewish community.
Now, as you read this newsletter, the time period for completing the survey has closed, and Sharp Insight has
begun its work of analyzing the data collected. I look forward to sharing with you the summary findings once the
analysis is complete. What we learn will help us set a vision for the future.
In our individual lives as well, this moment is ripe with possibility and the potential of powerful next steps. In the
annual cycle, we have entered a season of introspection, a time of asking essential questions: Who am I? To what
and whom am I committed? What contributions am I called to make-personally and as a participant in communal
projects larger than myself?
Part of our spiritual practice in preparation for the upcoming Days of Awe might include pausing to review and
revise our resumes and personal vision statements-regardless of whether we intend to explore new work
opportunities in the coming year. What have you accomplished during this past year? That question begins the
inquiry. I encourage you to answer with generosity. Then, beyond the domain of accomplishments, might you delve
more deeply to craft a resume that communicates who you are and the ways you have impacted positively on the
lives of individuals and the communities you have led and served? Does your personal statement articulate what
you stand for, what matters to you most, your unique voice and presence in the world?
We live in challenging times. There is so much pain and fear in our world. Injustice and suffering abound. So, too,
do opportunities to contribute, to lead with compassion, and to speak truth with clarity and courage. Theologian
Frederick Buechner reminds us, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the
world's deep hunger meet." In our professional lives and in the myriad other ways we bring blessing to the world,
we are invited, even urged, to go there.
That place of intersection, where our deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet, is holy ground. Some of
us inhabit that space routinely. Others sojourn there more infrequently or know it more in memory than in the present
moment right now.
For all of us, however, as we ascend during this month of Elul, turning, returning, and renewal await our taking the
next step, which is the first step. "Start close in," coaches the poet, David Whyte:
"Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don't want to take."
This is the season of first steps. May we be blessed as we stand up and step forward-individually and together.


CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019

CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 1
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 2
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 3
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 4
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 5
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 6
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 7
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 8
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 9
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 10
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 11
CCAR Newsletter September/October 2019 - 12