CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 3

(Continued from page 1)

From the President

needed to endure the more challenging, difficult, and
sometimes gritty aspects of the rabbinate have, for the
past ten months, been dramatically curtailed if not
absent altogether. With few signposts to grab hold of,
many colleagues are simply feeling depleted. To be
clear, acknowledging such challenges and sentiments
in no way minimizes
the necessity
and lifesaving
" Do you know how
importance of the
limitations on our
hard it is to stay
rabbinic work.
motivated right now? "
Nonetheless, it
feels important to
" Well yes, son.
recognize what we
to be real for
I believe I understand. " know
countless rabbis
throughout our
Conference.

and tradition and theology when the energizing
interaction of give and take is now thwarted by a
handful of black boxes with names or still photos,
and some participants who are clearly disengaged or
otherwise multitasking. " Do you know how hard it is
to stay motivated right now? " " Well yes, son. I believe
I understand. "
In a recently published Time
essay about the death
of her mother during this
Covid pandemic, the author
Nicole Chung describes her
sentiments in words that
struck me as an apt reflection
of what is limited or even
entirely absent from so many
colleagues' lives at present:

What so many of us who've
lost family members and close friends during the
pandemic are facing is not grief or trauma deferred.
It's not a lack of emotion at all, but a swelling tide
of it, unchecked by the reassurance, the scant but
real comfort, that can and does often accompany
the rituals we are usually able to participate in
when a loved one dies. [Though they can] can still
leave us feeling incomplete, [these rituals] can
also act as signposts, guiding us from one phase
of mourning to another. (Chung, " Grieving
My Mother's Death without the Reassurance of
Rituals, " Time, 11/30-12/7/20, p. 39)
Familiar signposts. Rituals of the rabbinate. The
spiritually nourishing, emotionally replenishing
experiences that have girded us with the sustenance

However, if we are to give voice to challenges and
difficulties within the setting of our newletter,
then surely it is fitting to offer a nechemta as well.
The quest for such eventually led to the following
segment from Joseph Soloveitchik's expansive 1956
essay on religious Zionism, Kol Dodi Dofek, in which
he addresses the question of suffering and a person's
capacity to respond. In a chapter entitled " The
Righteous Suffer, " Soloveitchik writes:
In the second dimension of [a person's] existence,
destiny, the question of suffering takes on new
form. What is an Existence of Destiny? It is an
active existence, when [an individual] confronts
the environment into which [s/he] has been cast

with an understanding of [personal] uniqueness
and value, freedom and capacity; without
compromising [their] integrity or independence
in [the] struggle with the outside world.... [Each
person] is born as an object, dies as an object, but
it is within [our] capability to live as a subject-
as a creator and innovator who impresses [our]
individual imprimatur on life and breaks out of
a life of instinctive, automatic behavior into one
of creative activity. According to Judaism, [every
person's] mission in this world is to turn fate into
destiny-an existence that is passive and influenced
into an existence that is active and influential;
an existence of compulsion, perplexity, and
speechlessness into an existence full of will, vision,
and initiative.... Destiny bestows on [each of us] a
new status in God's world. It bestows upon [us] a
royal crown, and thus [we] become God's partner
in the work of creation.
Though written for an entirely different purpose and
time, Soloveitchik's writing speaks to this moment as
well, reminding us of our unique, God-given capacity
to redefine and willfully shape our existence-
whatever, however difficult, that existence may be-
into one of vision and initiative. Until we can all rely
once again upon the familiar rituals, experiences, and
" signposts " of the rabbinate to replenish and refresh
tired spirits, a reminder that we are the creator and
innovator of our own lives might very well be just the
motivation needed.

(Continued from page 1) From the Chief Executive

culture change, I have been gratified to see how the
work of the Task Force has seeped into other areas of
CCAR work. As an example, a newly formed subcommittee of the board that will be looking at our
social media policies and behaviors is being informed
by learning gleaned from the Task Force process.
Sally Priesand was ordained in 1972. That means
we are rapidly approaching the 50th anniversary of
women's ordination. We have come so far, and there
is still much to do. I'm encouraged that we have done
as much as we have in these three years, and I'm very
excited at the thought of joining forces with our
Movement partners to continue this work. And I'm
very grateful to the board, and to David Stern and
Ron Segal, for supporting this work and enabling us
to move forward with it three years ago.

There has certainly been other important learning
along the way that will shape CCAR decisions,
policies, and programs going forward. While we
began the work of the Task Force in the wake of
the 2016 presidential election and the emergence of
#metoo, we acknowledge that the binary parameters
of the initial mission of the Task Force will not be
sufficient to address the identities and needs of the
breadth of the CCAR membership in the years to
come. We understand that there are other issues
about diversity and equity that need our attention,
such as racial justice. And at the same time, there
are still many concerns about gender equity that
still need to be addressed as we move forward-our
membership is made up of 766 women, and we
must continue to pay attention to these issues. Our
challenge will be to dig in and do the work required
in all these areas without losing our balance.

I am very proud of the work that we have done so far,
and I'm so grateful to all who have been part of this
work. With our chair Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus and
vice-chair Amy Schwartzman and all who have served
on the Task Force over these three years, including
Ethan Bair, Carole Balin, Lisa Berney, Paul Cohen,
Josh Garroway, Kim Geringer, Lisa Greene, Hilly
Haber, Shirley Idelson, Jennifer Kaufman, Esther
Lederman, Ellen Lewis, Jill Maderer, Ellen Nemhauser,
Karen Perolman, Sarah Reines, Dean Shapiro,
Jonathan Singer, Kerith Spencer-Shapiro, Jessie Wainer,
Ron Segal (Ex Officio), Cindy Enger (Ex Officio), and
our HUC-JIR intern, Rachael Pass. I'm also grateful
in particular to our partners at WRN, ACC, URJ, and
HUC-JIR for their input and support.
I look forward to sharing more with you as we move
into the next phase of this work.

3

G122578_CCAR JAN-FEB 2021.indd 4

12/14/20 2:29 PM



CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021

CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 1
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 2
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 3
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 4
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - CRE1
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - CRE2
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 5
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 6
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 7
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2021 - 8
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