CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2013 - 9

CCAR Justice, Peace & Civil Liberties: Update on Works in Progress
Seth M. Limmer

A

core team of colleagues has been
working to bring forward the work
initiated at last year’s Boston
Convention during the Open Space time by
researching national campaigns where the
CCAR could have impact and prominence,
and—far more importantly—by listening to
our members (at regional kallot, in one-on-one
conversation, and in local meetings) to learn
about how we want to make a difference by
engaging together on a sustained campaign.

Commission on Social Action (CSA) have not
only amplified the rabbinic voice speaking for
tradition in the task forces and plenaries at the
RAC, but are also working to provide greater
support to the Legislative Assistants when it
comes to providing Jewish text on issues of
social justice.
The Rabbinic Resources working group,
chaired by Mona Alfi, is creating and sharing
deep studies of issues of social import that
will combine scholarly research, academic
reflection, and ideas for implementation
and advocacy. One early project involves
examining HUC-JIR rabbinic theses in order
to index and then explore the great work done
over the past century (plus!) in deep research
and thought on issues of justice.

Our working group on Policy, chaired by
David Widzer, watches for new issues where
the CCAR should take a stand as well as
re-evaluates how past positions of our
Conference affect our work in the present day.
Much of this work is done in collaboration with
our partners at the Religious Action Center.
The twelve delegates who serve on the joint

Perhaps the most talked-about aspect of
our committee’s work is what has come to

be known as Rabbis Organizing Rabbis.
This truly inspiring collaboration between the
CCAR, the RAC, and the Just Congregations
leadership has been not only a model of what
21st Century collaboration can look like, but
also an argument for why movements, most
notably our Reform Movement, still matter.
Our working group chair, Joel Mosbacher,
powerfully stated the motivating question at
the heart of Rabbis Organizing Rabbis in his
article two newsletters ago, “What if the rabbis
of the CCAR could organize for justice as
rabbis to act powerfully, nationally, on issues of
common concern
This new potential for acting in a different
way carries both excitement and promise.
If aspects of our work are of interest to you,
please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me or
with any of the chairs of our working groups.

The Community Rabbi
Don’t Pish Where You Eat
Peretz Wolf-Prusan (peretz@lehrhaus.org)
The CCAR Newsletter has generously given
space to the stories of community rabbis. I have
been asked how I became a community rabbi
and what I have learned. One of my favorite
country music titles is “How Can I Miss You
When You Won’t Go Away” (my favorite is “My
Date Fell Asleep In Her Dinner and Now There Is
More on Her Than In Her.”) I was separated from
my congregation of twenty years three years ago
this season. I did not go away. Mine is a happy
story, being so very fortunate to have found a
new career in an independent Jewish educational
organization in my community. I have since
received calls from colleagues who have also
found themselves out of the synagogue but have
remained rabbis in the community. They ask,
“What do I do now?”

Be part of piloting
the new CCAR machzor.
The Yom Kippur morning service is
available for piloting this spring.
Write to machzor@ccarnet.org for
more information.

“Don’t pish where you eat.” This is the advice
I received and it is darn good. Perhaps more
appropriate to a rabbinic newsletter would be:
“In a place where no one else is acting like a

“In a place where no
one else is acting like
a mensch, be the
mensch.”
mensch, be the mensch.” But there is more.
Here now is the advice I did not receive, but
have learned to share: You need to manage your
head, heart, and money.
1.) Get a mentor and find a therapist. Really. Get
help keeping your head together; it’s like being
a mensch when you are hurt and mad as hell is

easy. Colleagues will say, “this is for the best.”
They may be right, but not right now.
2.) Mind your heart, and this is not a metaphor.
Stress can cause a heart attack. It did for me and
I would like you avoid this.
3.) Find a lawyer and pursue your legal rights and
find a financial advisor to get it right. The lawyer
will help you settle, but you may need help with
the aftermath, such as taxes and parsonage.
If you manage to keep it together you may find
that the congregational children you named,
welcomed to school, brought to b’nei mitzvah,
confirmed, graduated, and married might
seek you to be there for them by the bedside,
under the chuppah, and standing graveside.
The arrangements may have changed, but
the relationships might not. Follow the CCAR
guidelines (even if others did not) and be the
mensch you want to be known.

The CCAR’s mission, as it has been since 1889, is to
strengthen and enrich the Jewish community.

9



CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2013

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