CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 1






Founded In
February 2012


Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

‫שבט-אדר תשע”ב‬

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬

Volume 59 – Number 5
FRom diReCToR oF PRoGRAm ANd membeR seRViCes Deborah Prinz

FRom The PResideNT Jonathan A. Stein

Dear Chevrah,
n early January, i had the wonderful opportunity to join a 5-day interfaith trip to israel. Rabbi Ammi hirsch of stephen Wise Free synagogue brought together fifteen clergy and also made all the programmatic and administrative arrangements. There were five rabbis, eight ministers and priests and two imams. Two of the fifteen were women priests and one additional woman rabbi who was invited was unable to participate. All clergy were from manhattan and all serve major New York congregations. The goals of the trip were to model interfaith collaboration between the three Abrahamic faiths, to deepen our understanding of the complexities and nuances of the situation in israel, and to connect with local clergy to deepen bonds and create mutual trust for future work together. i must say that the experience met and even exceeded those goals. The itinerary included meetings with journalists and clergy who work in the interfaith field in israel. We visited the Latin Patriarch in the Christian Quarter of the old City, the Church of the holy sepulchre, the Western Wall, and the Temple mount. We met with members of the israeli Knesset representing different parties as well as Natan sharansky, who heads up the Jewish Agency. We traveled to the northern border of the Gaza strip, saw the israeli security fence, and met with a woman who lamented the loss of her Arab friends in Gaza ever since the situation there has taken a turn toward hamas. We spent time with the mayor of
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The CCAR Leads in Collaboration Work
ver the last several years, largely through the leadership of steve Fox, the CCAR has sought to engage conference members in open conversations about some of the big questions facing Reform rabbis and the Jewish community. Previous input has led to our lifelong learning program, new publications, and even considerations about the future of placement. i recently facilitated two non-hierarchical, collaborative conversations for the CCAR. here is a snapshot view: • A few months ago, in a 16th floor hotel room overlooking the Pacific ocean, the CCAR’s 2013 Convention Committee for southern California used an approach known as Open Space Technology. That process revealed deep passions, much excitement, and innovative possibilities for Convention 2013. You will hear more about this as planning proceeds. • more recently at PARR, we initiated conversations with members about “Who is a Rabbi in the 21st Century?” and “What is the Rabbinic stake in the movement?” This triggered serious discussions about ethical and educational standards for rabbis, CCAR admissions policies, definitions of the movement, and the practical nexus of placement and pension. some snacks, doodling, and reflections on these serious questions contributed to the informal atmosphere known as World Cafe. Approximately one hundred colleagues were invited to “belly up” to the table-rounds with insights, creativity, and understandings on the theme “The CCAR and me: my Role in the Changing Rabbinate.” These ideas, too, will feed into the work of the CCAR over the next several years. in addition, the CCAR has brought these collaborative approaches to our work with the URJ and hUC-JiR, our historic, legacy partners of the Reform movement. The Think Tank to create a collective visioning for Reform Judaism (which includes twelve CCAR members plus President Jonathan stein, steve Fox and me) will culminate at its final in-person meeting just following the CCAR Convention in boston in march. Recognizing the need for change, the Think Tank engages many stakeholders and seeks to act boldly. What will Reform Judaism look like in twenty years? based on input from thousands of individuals (including five hundred people at the biennial), movement affiliates, congregations, and others around the country, the three dozen Think Tank members will generate a draft of a vision for our movement. Following that, there will be further engagement around the draft vision. Another shared project, the June, 2011, joint board meeting of the CCAR, hUC-JiR, and the URJ, the first in about eighty years, generated the creation of a Brit Tenuah. This collaborative effort, chaired by ellen Weinberg dreyfus with CCAR representative Ron segal, also includes representatives from hUC-JiR and the URJ. movement-wide conversations will develop a final version of the Brit Tenuah’s principles and commitments to undergird all of our future work. We are excited that our CCAR leadership has been able to begin to shift from a 20th Century culture using these approaches. With our partners within our movement, we have been able similarly to engage more people around challenging questions and issues. We look ahead to further opportunities to strengthen the CCAR and to unify our movement through this work. if you would like further information about these initiatives or about how to convene similar conversations in your own community, please feel free to be in touch with me at




CCAR February 2012 Newsletter

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

CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 1
CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 2
CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 3
CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 4
CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 5
CCAR February 2012 Newsletter - 6
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