CCAR November/December 2011 Newsletter - (Page 1)

CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS Founded In ‫חשון-כסלו-טבת תשע״ב‬ Volume 59–Number 3 FROM THE PRESIDENT Jonathan A. Stein November/December 2011 1889 NEWS FROM THE NEW DIRECTOR OF PLACEMENT Alan Henkin Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis ‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬ Dear Chevrah, A few months ago, I published an article in this column outlining the arguments for and against ‘cantorial ordination.’ At that time I promised to also publish excerpts from the letter I would eventually send to our colleague David Ellenson, president of HUC-JIR. Below you will find parts of that letter. We are grateful to you for setting such a constructive tone for this discussion and for your openness to listening to all sides of the conversation. I would like first to report to you officially in my role as President of the CCAR. As you know, I published a CCAR Newsletter article in June that attempted to raise this issue in a sensitive way, to outline the various arguments given on either side of the question, and to solicit feedback from our 1800 members. We also conducted a structured discussion of this issue twice with the CCAR Board, one brief introductory conversation during a phone meeting, and a detailed one at our Board of Trustees meeting in mid-June with fifteen members of our Board present. Since then I have received seventeen email responses, four phone calls and several in-person discussions at various events and meetings. In a word, the feedback has been mixed. Of the responses I have received by email, nine were in favor, six opposed and two “in the middle.” Summing up my phone and individual conversations, I believe they were virtually split. As for our Board meeting discussion, I would report that the majority was in favor of using the term “ordination” while there was a minority who expressed (Continued on page 9) 1 CHANGES IN PLACEMENT AT HUC-JIR I n response to the requests of CCAR colleagues and Union for Reform Judaism congregations, the Rabbinical Placement Commission has modified the placement system of fifth-year rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion. These changes will enhance the opportunities for the soon-to-be ordained rabbis and will give more control over choices for congregations and senior rabbis. This alteration of the HUC-JIR placement system has been guided by one principle: To make the HUC-JIR placement process conform as much as possible to the RPC system with which rabbis in the field are familiar. A small task force of representatives from HUC-JIR, the URJ and the CCAR worked together to develop a proposal which went to the full Commission. The Commission itself is made up of representatives from each of the three organizations and it finalized the new policies. There are two major elements to the new plan. First, we have moved senior placement from March and April into January. The RPC initiated this change so that fifth-year students can enter the placement pool while most assistant positions are still unfilled and listed. Specifically this means that senior interviews will take place at HUC-Cincinnati from January 8th to 10th, 2012. Congregations interested in taking part in senior placement should let the Placement Office know by early to mid-December. Second, actual offers and acceptance of offers can occur any time after January 10th. There will be no more matching system or double-blind processing. As of January 11th, congregations and senior rabbis are free to invite seniors for visits to their congregations, propose contracts, and conclude them, and the seniors are free to accept such invitations and complete such contracts. You can find the HUC Placement Document at the CCAR website’s members-only Placement page. If you would like it emailed to you, please contact Rabbi Alan Henkin at ahenkin@ccarnet. org. You can obtain a copy also from your URJ Union Rabbi or one of the directors of HUC-JIR’s rabbinic program. New from CCAR Press Voices of Torah: A Treasury of Rabbinic Gleanings on the Weekly Portions, Holidays, and Special Shabbatot The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic Mishkan T’filah for the House of Mourning For more information and to order, go to or call 212-972-3636 x243

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR November/December 2011 Newsletter

CCAR November/December 2011 Newsletter