CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 1

July * August 2021 | Volume 68 - Issue 6
א''פשת לולא-בא-זומת
Th ese last months have seen
us all emerging from the
pandemic, navigating new
rules and changed landscapes
among family, friends,
communal, and professional
circles. Like the one who has
dwelled in the darkness of a cave, as we fi rst venture
forth, what once seemed clear is less certain to us now.
Whether we labor in the rabbinic vineyard of
the congregation, the campus, chaplaincy, or the
organizational world, we are not " coming back " to the
place we left sixteen months ago. Mores have changed.
Expectations have shifted. We are permanently impacted
by the technology that kept us connected. Th ere are
new challenges for each of us to navigate. And even
if there is no " coming back " because of a changed
landscape, so too must we realize how much we have
changed. Th ere are elements within us that now
question if we really want to do everything just like we
used to, if there should be a new work-life balance to
seek, even as we still so deeply wish to touch the hearts
and souls of those in our communities we lead and serve.
We hold complex and even confl icting aspirations!
Beyond our inner world, we see deep challenges and
uncertainty in the lives of so many people for whom
we care. Following the sense of loss or isolation of the
pandemic, mental health issues proliferate for so
many people, especially in our youth and young
adults. So many struggle to fi nd new level ground on
which to stand. Th ey will require the unique hope
and assurance that community can bring and to
which rabbis can guide them.
Families also renegotiate new realities following the
isolation, distance, and anxieties faced during the
pandemic. Th ey will need the guidance that faith,
values, and perspective provide to enable them to see
the landscape with a longer horizon than whatever
pressing concerns may be before them at the moment.
In Jewish life, we have all shared anxiety by the recent
war with Hamas, the innocent lives tragically lost
both in Israel and in Gaza, and the increase of antiIsrael
propaganda in every arena of social media.
(Continued on page 3)
If we haven't met already, let me introduce myself: I'm Rafael Chaiken, and I've
had the privilege to be director of CCAR Press since January 2020. Coming from
a diff erent sector of the publishing world (I was previously the editor for Jewish
studies and several other fi elds at a scholarly press), I'm enjoying devoting my full
attention to Jewish books. Following in the footsteps of Hara Person is quite an
honor and responsibility; I'm grateful to Hara for building a strong Press as well as
for her continued leadership and support as chief executive.
As with all of you, the pandemic transformed our day-to-day life at the Press. We transitioned to remote
work, pivoted to a digital-only marketing strategy-including the CCAR Press Speaker Series to give you
easy programming options for your communities-and focused on providing resources such as fl ipbooks,
ebooks, and Visual T'fi lah to serve the emergency needs of colleagues and their communities. We were
gratifi ed to do everything we could to meet your needs during this time. Even with all the changes of the
past year, our mission to publish meaningful books and digital resources with the highest standards for the
Reform Movement and the greater Jewish community remains the same as ever.
Let me highlight just two of the major projects we've released since the beginning of the year. First is our
new fl agship Haggadah, Mishkan HaSeder, featuring contemporary translations and commentary, a wealth
of poetry, and original, full-color art. Th e book was covered widely in the Jewish media, and we had to
rush to a second printing to ensure we didn't run out of copies. I hope many of you were able to use it at
your seder, and if not that you'll give it a try next year. We are also developing a Visual T'fi lah version for
Pesach 2022.
Second, we were proud to release a brand-new version of Mishkan T'fi lah Visual T'fi lah for Shabbat
evening. Redesigned from scratch in an updated widescreen format, it is equally suited for screensharing
and projection. Th e typography reproduces the look and feel of the Mishkan T'fi lah print edition. Th e Basic
version is ready to use out of the box, while the Pro version adds full customization. Th e Shabbat morning
service is coming soon; stay tuned for additional services. Special thanks to Dan Medwin for his vision in
conceiving of and overseeing this project.
Th e other signifi cant news at the Press is that we have transitioned to a new warehouse. Th e University of
Chicago Press's Chicago Distribution Center is now our storage, fulfi llment, and customer service partner.
As a fellow not-for-profi t, they share many of our values, and their deep experience in the publishing
industry will enable us to broaden our sales reach. As a book-buyer, you'll fi nd additional shipping options
and more environmentally friendly packaging. While we've worked to make the transition as smooth
as possible, you will notice some changes. Orders should now be placed by contacting the Chicago
Distribution Center at (800) 621-8476 or You'll also need to set a new
password for your user account. If you need any help, don't hesitate to reach out the CCAR Press offi ce at
I have been inspired by the entire Press staff 's perseverance during this challenging year-thank you to
Debbie Smilow, Raquel Fairweather, and Chiara Ricisak. Th is spring we said goodbye to our editor, Sonja
Pilz, PhD, who is now serving Congregation Beth Shalom in Bozeman, Montana. We are grateful for
Sonja's dedication over the past three years; the books she edited will continue to enrich our bookshelves
for a long time to come. We are delighted to welcome on board our new editor, Jan Katz.
(Continued on page 2)
Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
םימדקתמה םינברה דוגיא

CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021

CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 1
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 2
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 3
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 4
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 5
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 6
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 7
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 8
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 9
CCAR Newsletter July/August 2021 - 10