CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 7

The Community Rabbi


s a native Californian, I take pride when
people say, “Look what’s happening on
the West Coast to see what’s coming to
the country.” This might be true for technology,
but not always true for sociology. In this
Community Rabbi column, Marshall Klaven
argues that we should look south to our roots
for clues to changes and trends in American
Jewish life.
Peretz Wolf-Prusan (

The ISJL Circuit-Riding Rabbi:
On the Frontlines of Our Future
Rabbi Marshal Klaven,
ISJL Director of Rabbinic Services
When colleagues ask me what it’s like traveling
every week as the Goldring/Woldenberg
Institute of Southern Jewish Life’s circuit-riding
rabbi for 105 small congregations without fulltime clergy in thirteen states, I often summarize
the varied indescribable experiences as “being
on the frontlines of a battle that will eventually
face all Jewish communities.” That battle is
our demographics, which clearly indicate not
only a decreased affiliation but a shrinking
These Southern communities—many of whom
were UAHC founding members—feel the hit
of these cold, hard facts now (as opposed to
decades from now) because of their already
small size. When just one or two families
depart, they represent a large portion of these
congregations, leaving its remaining members

with more community responsibilities to
burden. In light of this reality, my colleagues
surmise that a lot of my work must be triage.

“...our communities
are always looking
for a few good men
and women...”
To some degree, it has been.
Despite our attempts to reinforce these
congregations with educational, religious,
cultural, community engagement, and history
resources, sometimes we cannot stop the
inevitable. A few months after ordination, for
example, I was called on to close an over
100-year-old congregation in Mississippi.
Wanting our traditions to speak to this
moment, providing the remaining congregants
a sense of comfort and fulfillment, I altered the
V’ahavta from ongoing action to completed
Adonai, our God, within these walls and in
this community we have loved You with all our
hearts, with all our souls, with all our might.
These words, which You commanded us that
day long ago, we have set upon our hearts:
Teaching them faithfully—throughout the
generations—to our children,
Speaking them in our homes and on our way,

before we slept and after we woke….
But, this “non-traditional” pulpit is more
than comforting the past in light of a difficult
present; it’s confronting the present for the
sake of our future. As much as we may
detest wars and battles, their fields often
become testing grounds for innovation, as
the opposition forces us to build up our
might—whether militarily or intellectually—to
survive. So, after thirteen successful years of
battling our demographic challenge, the ISJL
is now innovatively leading the way to ensure
Judaism remains a vital and visible part of the
American landscape.
Facing the future of Judaism today is not
only about meeting the changing needs of
our communities; it’s understanding that the
very definition of community is changing.
While “community” may no longer be defined
by walls or movements and is aided by
technology (e.g., my Skype b’nei mitzvah
lessons, conversion classes), its continued
growth will always need a personal face. That’s
why, every week, you’ll find me with boots on
the ground, reminding these congregations
they’re not alone, as we continue to celebrate
our faith together.
So, if you’re interested in enlisting in this or any
other “non-traditional” pulpit, our communities
are always looking for a few good men and
women with whom to partner. For more
information, please feel free to reach out to
me at,, or

Report of the CCAR Nominating Committee
Randy Sheinberg

The 2012 CCAR nominating Committee announces its intention to place the following
slate of Officers and Trustees into nomination for election at the March 2013 Convention
in Long Beach, for the term of 2013–2015:
Richard Block

David Stern

Denise eger

elaine zecher

Jonathan Stein

Ruth Alpers
Heidi Cohen
Larry englander
Lisa Grushcow
Oren Hayon
Ron Segal
Susan Shankman
David Thomas

Deborah Bravo
Stephen einstein
Samuel Gordon

Members of the nominating Committee include
Marci Bellows, Lenore Bohm, Kenneth Carr, Lucy
Dinner, Wendi Geffen, Larry Goldmark, Jonathan
Kraus, Jonathan Miller, Brigitte Rosenberg,
Micah Streiffer, Heath Watenmaker, and Randy
Sheinberg (chair) and Steve Fox (ex officio).
On behalf of the nominating Committee,
we thank all those who put forth names and
offered input into the nominating process.
I would also like to express my gratitude to
and admiration for my colleagues on the
nominating Committee, whose wisdom,
integrity, and dedication made this process
such an honor to lead.


CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013

CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 1
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 2
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 3
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 4
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 5
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 6
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 7
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 8
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 9
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 10
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 11
CCAR Newsletter Jan-Feb 2013 - 12