CCAR April 2013 Convention Newsletter - (Page 1)

THE 124TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS March 3–6, 2013, Long Beach, CA *Special Edition* CONVENTION NEWSLETTER Rav Todot for creating the 124th ccAR convention 2013 DeBoRAH pRinZ A n intricate dance among our volunteer Convention Committee, CCAR staff, and outside consultants/ vendors provided the best of the best to our colleagues at our recent Convention in Southern California. Convention Committee chair Asher Knight, vice-chair michael Weinberg, and our committee members contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time to make this Convention such a stunning reality. For their vision and implementation of the theme, “Rabbis Leading the Shift,” we thank members Tom Alpert, Wendi Geffen, Adam Grossman, howard Laibson, Steven moskowitz, Jessica oleon, Brigitte Rosenberg, Daniel Septimus, Keith Stern, max Weiss, and local colleagues heidi Cohen, Stephen einstein, Paul Kipnes, Joel Simonds, and Rachel Timoner. The CCAR officers and Board also provided a very warm welcome to attendees. our CCAR Rabbinic Staff (Steve, Debbie, hara, Alan and Dan) delights in the opportunity to see so many members in one place and to engage in brief and not so brief conversations. We relish the opportunity to visit, to hear how you and your family are doing, to respond to any inquiries you have or challenges you may be facing, and simply to be with you. our onsite team worked very hard to make it all run smoothly, and we are very grateful to ortal Bensky, marketing and Sales Associate; Alx Block, Sales and marketing Director; Laurie Kurzynowski, CFo/Director of operations; Laura mardiks, Development manager, Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis ‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬ FRom The CCAR ChieF exeCuTive Steven Fox voiceS oF optimiSm i n the past few years, i have left each annual CCAR Convention, regional event, and other gathering of our rabbinic colleagues with an increasing sense of optimism, after having heard optimistic voices. This is not to say that rabbis have on blinders to the realities of life. in fact, it’s just the opposite. in advance of the recent 2013 CCAR Convention, members identified nearly fifty “shifts” impacting their communities and their private and professional lives. The Convention itself then began with taking a hard look at these shifting realities. As the leaders and spiritual guides of Reform Judaism, Reform rabbis face numerous challenges and obstacles in our own rabbinates and communities. in Long Beach, we considered these shifts and the ways in which they are changing the world that we know. But it is how we are choosing to deal with these obstacles that defines us as a voice of forward momentum and positive change in our communities and in the Reform movement. Rabbinic colleagues are, more and more, approaching challenges as opportunities to rethink our rabbinates, the nature of the communities we serve, and the ways in which we build sacred communities. We are facing issues head on with a renewed sense of optimism and hope. one of the reasons for my personal optimism is the emergence of a new generation of rabbinic leaders. At the 2013 Convention, we had forty-four “first-timers,” colleagues who had never before attended a CCAR Convention, most of whom had been ordained in recent years. We also have many more recently ordained rabbis involved in Convention planning, book publications, and other aspects of CCAR life. These newer colleagues have been showing up, not just physically but also emotionally, intellectually, and creatively. our new colleagues bring a sense of energy and excitement to the rabbinate for all of us. They are: • open-minded and openhearted to redefinitions of rabbinic life. • Not bound by old models of institutions that have for generations defined how and what the Jewish community may be. • open to ways of experimentation within existing institutions and with new ways of reaching out to Jews in our communities. • on the cusp of new ways of thinking, organizing, understanding text, and applying Jewish value to contemporary issues. most importantly, and most enjoyably, all of these qualities are contagious and infectious to the entire rabbinic community. As i was able to observe at Convention, these qualities are further enhanced when mixed with the voices of more experienced colleagues, who bring their wisdom, perspective, and experience. i hope that you share my feelings of optimism as together all generations of Reform rabbis will help move the Jewish community into new, undefined ways of engaging Jews in Jewish life. (Continued on page 5) 1

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CCAR April 2013 Convention Newsletter