CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 1







Founded In


May/June 2013
‫תמוז-אב-אלול תשע״ג‬

Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

July/August 2013 | Volume 60 – Issue 6
Volume 59 – Number 9

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬
Deborah Prinz

Richard Block

About Gender: Embedding and Deepening CCAR’s Work

Dear Colleagues,
“How is it having two fulltime jobs?” is a question
I receive frequently, and
it’s a good one. Even after
being deeply involved in
Conference leadership for
eight years and working in
the closest of partnerships
with Steve Fox and
four prior presidents, the demands of the
presidency, combined with my ongoing
responsibilities as a congregational rabbi
and acharon, acharon haviv, attempting
to do justice to Susie and our children and
grandchildren, have involved a significant
adjustment. Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled,
honored, humbled, and grateful to serve as
CCAR president, but learning to manage
and multi-task at this level of intensity is an
ongoing challenge.
One aspect of the job of Conference
president is representation, both within and
beyond our Movement. The former includes
serving on the Board of Governors of HUCJIR and the URJ Oversight Committee,
where the presence of senior CCAR
representatives is truly valued and provides
opportunities for relationship building. The
top lay and professional leaders of Reform
Judaism’s three legacy organizations, the
Conference, the College, and the Union,
compose the Reform Leadership Council
(RLC), a forum for communication, problem
solving, and, I hope increasingly, innovative
thinking and effective collaboration in
pursuit of goals that transcend the particular
objectives of the individual organizations.
One concrete achievement of the RLC is a
vision statement for the Reform Movement
that will soon be released and can serve as
the basis of serious study and discussion as
we seek to define more clearly what it means
to be a “Movement.” The most important
Movement-related representative role I fill is


s a founding co-chair of the Women’s Rabbinic Network in the
late 1970’s, I know that when the pioneer women set out on our
rabbinic journeys, there were no formal support systems. We had
to create our own. Now, things are different. Today, I am grateful to be
among the CCAR leaders, male and female, who encourage advocacy for
women rabbis and who are now generating
conversations about gender among
“Today, I am grateful
rabbis and lay people. Gender issues
generate complicated feelings including anxiety, anger, surprise,
to be among the
disappointment, and more. As I see it, much remains to be done
CCAR leaders, male
to diminish the incongruities among expectations, values, and
and female, who
realities. The disconnect between articulated Reform positions
related to pay equity, fairness in hiring practices, and granting
encourage advocacy
of family leave policies in our congregations and organizations
for women rabbis...”
remains. At the same time, the discussions are broadening and
the work is being embedded into the CCAR.
Sharing of Stories: Two Recent Moments
At its June 2013 meeting, the CCAR Board devoted an evening to personal and frank sharing
about gender. (The current board counts nine men and seven women, including the presidentelect, Denise Eger. Women compose half of our senior staff.) I was struck by the honest
reflections shared by our elected leaders; the nuanced experiences and the shared concerns of
both men and women. In particular, the theme of work/life balance for all rabbis emerges as a
theme in the comments I have been hearing. This was articulated again at our board meeting by
our colleagues Oren Hayon and Debbie Bravo. Our challenge is to diminish the dichotomy that
the phrase expresses. Work is, after all, part of life.
Deep and serious exchanges also happened at the Open Space session initiated by our
colleague Irwin Zeplowitz and in the celebrations around the 40th Anniversary of Women in the
Rabbinate at CCAR’s Boston Convention in 2012; on the teleconference call with Anne-Marie
Slaughter in December 2012; at the dinner options for men and women during the 2013 Long
Beach Convention; and during the recent in-person seminar “Gender: Difficult Issues.” I was
disturbed and surprised, as were other more veteran rabbis, to hear from younger colleagues
that many forty-year-old challenges still remain. Issues that we thought and hoped had been
resolved, have not. One attendee, a nursing mother, bemoaned how difficult it had been for
her to receive a maternity leave. Similar stresses mentioned included compensation, family
time, and more. One of the men identified the importance of men being part of future gender
conversations and hopes that we will be able to run similar opportunities around the country.
Advocacy: Making Things Right
Under the leadership of Chief Executive Steven Fox, CCAR invested in and produced the first
ever CCAR Salary Study by Gender, published in 2012. It may be seen at the website. The
findings and implications of that study, particularly the wage gap in the rabbinate that largely
parallels the wage gap in our larger society, were shared on a teleconference call last summer.

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CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013

CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 1
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 2
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 3
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CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 10
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 11
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 12