CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 6

(Continued from page 5)

VOICES OF TORAH
looking optimistically toward the future
is important and good, but the future we
shape should be informed by all that the
past we have experienced has taught us.
In a post-Zionist world where the generation
that witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust
is fast dying out, we need to be reminded
why the existence of a Jewish State of
Israel is so important. It must never be
taken for granted even though we have
“come into the land.”
Edmund Burke wrote that “those” who
don’t know history are destined to repeat
it.” Remembering our past helps us place
the present in context and is the key to
our future.

Nitzavim/Vayeilech
(Stephen Wylen)
The Torah says: Gather the people—the
men, the women, the children, and the
foreigners in your gates—to hear, to learn,
to revere Adonai your God and to do all the
words of this Torah. (Deuteronomy 31:12)
Rashi says: Why include the children? To
give a reward to those who brought them.
It is well known that little children interfere
with and diminish the attention of adults.
One might say, “It is better to leave the
kids at home.” That is why Rashi raises
the question. The reward that attends
upon bringing children is greater by far
than the deficit that comes from their
presence. Children are very open to the
holy atmosphere of a sacred gathering, and
it makes a great impression upon them.
As Rabbi Nathan Adler, in Iturei Torah (ad
loc) points out, as a general rule, it is better
to pass on the opportunity for personal
fulfillment in order to educate the young in
the ways of Torah and good deeds.
This has broad implications for monthly
children’s services on Shabbat. They drive
away regular worshipers, while ghettoizing
children and limiting them to once monthly
attendance. Children who regularly attend
Shabbat services prefer the real worship.
It is preferable to tolerate disruption
caused by the presence of children,
and to challenge the children to grow
and to nurture in them an appreciation
of adult Judaism.

WRN News
WOMEN’S RABBINIC NETWORK

T

here is so much talent within our ranks.
This spring, three different colleagues
shared their scholarship with us in a
series of learning opportunities via conference
call. Thank you Doctor-Rabbis Judith Abrams,
Rachel Adler, and Carole Balin. Thanks also to
WRN Immediate Past President Sarah Reines
for coordinating all three conference calls.
Dr. Judith Abrams led us through a study of
Mishnah texts in a stimulating look at Shavuot
in a session entitled Celebrate Shavuot
Y’rushalmi Style. Participants examined texts
from the Y’rushalmi to gain new ways to do
Shavuot this year. She brought the ancient
rituals to life, and as she reflected on the
communal aspects and values found in these
snapshots of our forebears, she invited us to
consider new ways to celebrate the festival.
We laughed, we learned, and we came away
with all kinds of creative ideas. It was
a wonderful integration of the academic and
the practical.
Dr. Rachel Adler walked us through thornier
Talmudic territory on Tz’niut and the
Genitalization of Women in a discussion of
tz’niut, sources, and applications. We looked
at sections from BT B’rachot and Sanhedrin.
It was empowering to grapple with the texts
and to benefit from Dr. Adler’s insights. This
is a troubling topic and particularly timely as
Women of the Wall challenge ultra-Orthodox
definitions of modesty vis-à-vis prayer.
Dr. Carole Balin’s session on ”Reform Rabbis
and Betty Friedan” came out of her research
that was prompted by a discussion with our
colleague Laura Geller. Laura
revealed that Betty Friedan had been a
speaker at the CCAR Convention of 1979,
during the national debate and fight to pass
the ERA in all fifty states. Therein lies a tale of
impressive advocacy led by the first women
to be ordained at HUC-JIR, a tale that was
nearly lost. These young and newly minted
rabbis urged the CCAR to change the venue
of the 1979 convention from a non-ratified
state to an ERA-ratified state in keeping
with the Reform Movement’s commitment
to egalitarianism.
Dr. Balin will be publishing the full story in
the near future, but for those who can’t
wait for the hard-copy version, this
conference call and each of the others are
available as podcasts through the WRN
Facebook page.

6

We are looking ahead to gathering together
several times this year. Please plan to
join us:
• At the URJ Biennial in San Diego in
December 2013
• Sunday, March 30, 2014 in Chicago before
the CCAR Convention
• Mark your calendar now for the next
WRN Convention in Denver, CO (May 31–
June 3, 2015)
Mazal Tov to our 2013/2014 WRN Board:
Helaine Ettinger, Co-President
Alysa Mendelson-Graf, Co-President
Robin Nafshi, Treasurer
Audrey Pollack, Secretary
Ellen Nemhauser, Membership
and Outreach VP
Rebecca Epstein, Convention and
National Events VP
Elizabeth Wood, Communications and
Marketing VP
Faith Joy Dantowitz, Advocacy VP
Leah Berkowitz, Networking VP
Sarah Reines, Immediate Past President
Batsheva Meiri, CCAR Representative
Jacqueline Koch Ellenson, Executive Director
Our heartfelt gratitude to Judi Beiner,
Rachel Gurevitz, Joui Hessel, and
Allison Vann, who are concluding their
terms as Advocacy VP, Communications
and Marketing VP, Conventions and
National Events VP, and Networking VP
respectively. We are grateful to them for
all the time and effort they have contributed
to the WRN. Our organization will carry the
deep imprint of their good works.
As always, we look forward to seeing you
and speaking with you. Please stay in touch
with us!
Helaine Ettinger and Alysa Mendelson-Graf,
Co-Presidents
Jacqueline Koch Ellenson,
Executive Director
jackie@womensrabbinicnetwork.org



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
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 4
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 5
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 6
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 7
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 8
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 9
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 10
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 11
CCAR Newsletter Jul-Aug 2013 - 12
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