CCAR October 2011 Newsletter - (Page 1)

CENTRAL Founded In October 2011 1889 NEWS t CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis ‫תשרי חשרן תשע״ב‬ ‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬ DiReCtOR Of PROgRAm AND membeR SeRViCeS Debbie Prinz Volume 56 – Number 9 59 2 fROm tHe PReSiDeNt Jonathan A. Stein Dear Chevrah, Please consider this month’s letter from me as an update on some items that i hope will be of interest and concern to all of us. Please try to join us at the Union for Reform Judaism biennial in Washington, DC this coming December. Historically somewhere between 300-400 CCAR members have attended, participated, led workshops and t’filah and represented us during this important gathering. this year, i’d also like to encourage you to sign up for the education Summit and to join the movementwide effort to better engage our youth. With our colleague eric Yoffie’s retirement and the elevation of Rick Jacobs to succeed him, this biennial promises to be historic and futureoriented. i look forward to greeting many of you there, especially at our special friday night Oneg Shabbat for CCAR rabbis. Periodically there is a machlochet on RAVKAV that might be best served if we had a moderated discussion rather than the freeranging list-serve that has existed for the past several years. i am pleased to inform you that your board of trustees affirmed a written set of RAVKAV policies on June 8, 2010 and that our colleagues, Dan Pernick and Anthony fratello, have agreed to serve as our first moderators. We thank them in advance for their time and good judgment in keeping our discussions and debates on the highest of levels. in June, i devoted this column to outlining the issues involved in the discussion of the proposed ‘ordination’ (rather than ‘investiture’) of cantors. Since then about 25 of you have contacted me to express your thoughts and insights on this important topic and the CCAR board of trustees had a detailed conversation as well. i am currently composing a letter to our (Continued on page 3) CCAr’s interim in-Person Seminar: A Great Success he interim three-Day in-person seminar held this past June continues the CCAR’s commitment to provide expertise to rabbis interested in focusing on serving interim congregations, teach skills that apply in every work setting for those who may wish additional professional development, and also assist those considering the possibility of interim work in the future, perhaps in retirement. this opportunity, developed under my guidance, furthers the CCAR mission of providing our members with specialized training in skill sets for working in congregations undergoing significant change and/or crisis and to bring healing and health through the transition. Preparation to do this work consists of three modules: 1. The three-day intensive, “Fundamentals of Interim Rabbinic Work” 2. The five-day intensive, “The Intentional Interim Rabbi” 3. Supervised field work projects. At our seminar, Linda bertenthal shared this D’var Torah, which beautifully captures the essence of interim work: D’var Torah–Interim Training 6/30/11 in Parashat Chukat, moses has a really bad day, and he blows it. He did assemble the people as directed, but he didn’t speak to the rock. He spoke to the people, saying “You rebels, are we to bring forth water for you?” the rock, he struck, twice, before the eyes of the whole congregation. And for this, he was denied the privilege of bringing the people into the Promised Land. the rabbis debate: What was the precise sin great enough to merit this terrible punishment? Nachmanides taught that it was saying “Shall we—Aaron and moses—bring forth water?” instead of “Shall god.” moses made the miracle seem to be about him, making the people feel dependent on him personally. this is a sin interim rabbis must scrupulously avoid; it is not about us, and the last thing we want is to create dependence on us. it is about the congregation; it is about them learning to depend on themselves, on each other, to set a new vision and to go forth. D’var acher: god told moses to speak to the rock before the eyes of the congregation. Why eyes and not ears? Dr. Deborah miller teaches that this points out that god has been trying to wean the children of israel from dependence on their eyes, on the visible and the tangible, to reliance on speech. god wants the people to see the power of speech. but moses uses speech not for miracle-making nor for glorifying god, but for expressing anger, and moses draws forth water in a visually striking way, exactly as he had decades before for the prior generation—as if nothing had changed, ignoring the fact that this was a new generation with a new relationship to god. it was his impatient disregard of who the community was at that moment that made him unfit to bring them into the Promised Land. As interim rabbis, it will not be our privilege or our responsibility to bring the congregation into the promised land of transformation. However, it will be essential that we see them as they are, make room for their work of transition, and recognize and affirm the transitions they achieve. may we be blessed with the insight, patience and humility of moses on a good day, that we may be blessings to the congregations we serve. 1 (Continued on page 2)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR October 2011 Newsletter

CCAR October 2011 Newsletter