CCAR January 2012 Newsletter - 7

Voices of Torah
(Michael Boyden)
It is not fortuitous that the parashah that describes the last of the plagues also includes the statement, This month that be the first month [of the year] for you. From here on the Israelites will be able to plan their own time. When the Deuteronomic version of the Ten Commandments commands us, Observe the Sabbath day… and do no work… because you were a slave in the land of Egypt, the association is clear. Only a free person is master of his time, whereas a slave is dependent upon a timetable set by others. But freedom has limits. The wicked son has no time for the Seder meal, because he mistakenly confuses cherut (freedom) with chofesh—the right to do whatever one chooses. He asks: “Mah haavodah hazot?” Having escaped the burden of slavery in Egypt, he views any other kind of service (avodah) as being equally intolerable. The Jerusalem Talmud interprets his question to mean: “What is this burden that you impose upon us every year?… All you have done is to replace one kind of service with another kind.” He seeks the freedom to do what he wishes, without restriction, without a time framework. Whereas that option is attractive in a postmodern world of individualism and personal autonomy, our Tradition teaches us that, “the only one who is truly free is a person who engages in Talmud Torah.” Judaism views commitment as an essential component of true freedom. How we spend our time says who we are.

Report on IJCIC Activities
Daniel Polish n October 27, it was my great honor to represent the CCAR at the Day of Reflection, Dialogue, and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World convened by Pope Benedict XVI in Assisi. It commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first such gathering convened by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict invited representatives of the great religious traditions of the world to come together as pilgrims in Assisi to reflect on the role of religion in promoting peace and to reject the violence which is too often enacted in the name of faith. Of course the selection of Assisi as the location of this gathering was not accidental. Assisi was the home of Saint Francis, that great exemplar of peace and reconciliation. It was Francis, after all, who wrote the famous words “make me an instrument of Your peace…” In the presence of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Taoists, Zoroastrians and, of course, Christians of many kinds, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, was the Pope himself. It was a powerful display of the fundamental message of the gathering: the commitment of the Vatican to remain firm in the path of Nostra Aetate and grow beyond the sense of exclusive truth that characterized it before that epochal document. For all the attendees, this gathering symbolized a shared aspiration for a world of peace and a shared commitment to rejecting violence and terror as a legitimate expression of religious commitment. The day offered speeches, pageantry, a modest meal in the refectory of the monastery, and the opportunity to engage in significant conversation across faith lines. Some might dismiss such a gathering as “mere symbolism”. But we who are involved in the life of faith know that symbolism is never “mere”. This gathering was an enactment of the profound challenge to these leaders and their communities to dedicate the resources at their disposal to foster true peace and an admonishment that, to quote Archbishop Dolan once again, “reclaim[…] faith from the fanatics and bigots who have falsely and horribly held it hostage to a deadly ideology. Call this hate, terrorism, violence, bigotry, whatever... Don’t you dare call it religion.” If this is symbolism, the world needs much more of it.


Ready or is here!
Join us in Boston for detailed discussions and learning about contemporary technological tools. This year our offerings provide the opportunity to learn today’s systems to be better organizational leaders, motivators within our constituencies, and connectors for Jews to Judaism. Study with Lisa Colton, President of Darim Online, the foundations of social media and how to effectively use them as rabbis. Discuss various technologies and their benefits for greater community engagement with Jordyne Wu, a Vice President at And learn with Rabbi Dan Medwin, CCAR’s Publishing Technology Manager, the communal advantages of Visual T’filah and the new Mishkan T’filah app, iT’filah. Additionally, throughout convention see in practice how QR codes can facilitate Jews’ connections to spirituality, Torah, and social action. The technology offerings at the CCAR Convention 2012 will surely be remembered for deepening the way rabbis and Jews use technologies to better connect with one another and to God.

January 2011
(212) 972-3636 x234 fax (212) 972-5192 Please note that the most current information of placement opportunities is available on the CCAR website at on the password protected Placement web page. This page is updated regularly. Fountain Valley, CA – Congregation B’nai Tzedek: Rabbi Mark Kaiserman (Interim) San Diego, CA - Temple Emanu-El: Rabbi Richard Shapiro (Interim) West Essex, NJ – Temple Emanu-El: Rabbi Greg Litcofsky Westmount, Quebec – Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom: Rabbi Lisa J. Grushcow

CCAR January 2012 Newsletter

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR January 2012 Newsletter

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