CCAR Newsletter Nov-Dec 2013 - 9

(Continued from page 7) VOICES OF TORAH



(Louis Rieser)

(Janice Garfunkel)

When Moses seeks permission from his fatherin-law to return to Egypt, Jethro responds, Leich
l'shalom, "Go to peace" (Exodus 4:18). The
Sages (BT B'rachot 64a) teach that this was
the perfect response because it points to his
future success. They contrast it with the phrase
Leich b'shalom, "Go in peace," which should be
addressed only to the deceased. What is the
difference? What does that "l'" signify?

Did the events of the Exodus really happen? I
tend not to wonder about it much because the
importance of the story is in the fact that it is
so foundational to who we are as a people: we
were slaves, and God redeemed us. I am also
impressed by the line of thinking that a people
does not invent a history of slavery. If a history
is to be invented, it is more likely to reflect
superiority. However, whether or not it happened
is much less important to me than what it means
to us to have this story at our very core.

Tzror Hamor, Rabbi Abraham Sabba (Castile,
1440-1510), teaches that we who are living
have not yet reached our completeness, our
true shalom. It is a goal that lies ahead of us and
to which we aspire. When someone is taking
their leave from us, we offer a blessing that their
travels lead them to greater wholeness.

What is the impact on us that we were slaves
and God redeemed us, particularly in the
modern context, when many of us do not
believe in a God who acts in history? Is the story
of slavery and redemption meaningful?

Where will we find that shalom? The M'or
Einayim ( Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl,
1730-1797), commenting on Moses being
nursed by Yocheved, offers an analogy. As long
as a child nurses, she is tightly connected and
draws all her vitality from her mother. Even after
weaning, the mother-child bond is uniquely
powerful. By comparison, Torah is our mother
(Proverbs 6:20) and we should be satisfied by
her nourishment at all times (Proverbs 5:19),
wherever we travel. At Sinai, we were as tightly
connected as a child to his mother. But as
we journey on in life, the challenge is harder
because the details and enticements of the
world draw us in many directions. The blessing
Leich l'shalom urges us to remain connected to
the Source that nourishes us and gives us vitality
even while we journey in the world.

As it happens, my parents are Holocaust
survivors. This story is not one of the ancient
past: my father was quite literally a slave and he
was redeemed.


to share insights and best practices in order
to help each other achieve this through each
of our own movement's infrastructure and
outreach initiatives.



e at the RAC (Religious Action Center)
are happy to report that the Union
for Reform Judaism, the Orthodox
Union, the Conservative Movement, and the
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College have
successfully formed a cross-movement effort
to promote synagogue inclusion of people with
This cross-movement effort is called Hineinu:
Jewish Community for People of All
Abilities. We hope enabling our synagogues
to be aware, accessible on all levels, and
welcoming will help readjust the attitude of
the entire Jewish community. Thus, Jews with
disabilities will truly feel and know they in fact
belong to their local Jewish communities.
The movements will aid each other in
promoting disability inclusion in our
synagogues' physical plants, programs, ritual
offerings, and more. We will work together

Many are still enslaved today, not merely
figuratively, but literally: human trafficking,
economic conditions that are enslaving, and so
many women who live in social contexts that
deny them freedom. Who will redeem them?
As Reform Jews, we see this in our usual
context. We are partners with God in tikkun
olam, which means it is up to us to be the
active participants in the acts of redemption,
redeeming ourselves and, now we are in the
fortunate position, redeeming others. Do we do
enough to redeem the enslaved? In what way
does God, today, redeem the enslaved?

Hineinu has put together a resource guide
for clergy and educators; it will be available on
the URJ website as well as the websites of the
other movements.
This February marks the sixth annual Jewish
Disability Awareness Month. On a (TBD)
designated Shabbat, synagogues from each of
the four movements are being asked to make
a formal Hineinu announcement. Should that
Shabbat not work for your synagogue, please
choose another Shabbat in February.
For more information, please contact me at or Deborah S. Goldberg,
RAC Legislative Assistant at
Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Co-chair, CCAR
Committee on Disability Awareness & Inclusion




t the conclusion of the recent in-person
seminar Refresh Your Rabbinate: Interim
Rabbi Five-Day Training, participants were
asked to capture learning highlights in the form
of a tweet (140 characters or less). These were
shared by some of our colleagues:
* Don't fear shoes & clothes wearing out in
#wilderness. They won't because we now have
tools to teach people to repair or make new
* I learned to open my mind to others-their
thoughts, perceptions, pains, and hopes and
not impose shadows of myself. Open hearts will
follow-first mine a key to opening theirs.
* Don't let what you can't do interfere with what
you can do-John Wooden #inspirational
* Stop fixing; enjoy the opportunity of the neutral
zone. Celebrate each step, new friends, learned
a lot from colleagues.
* "Yesterday's, solutions are today's problems.
Talk less, listen more, and get the stories.
Thanks to teachers and friends, old and new.
Bless you all.
* Assets are everywhere; sometimes it just
takes a new lens. We can help you make new
discoveries-CCAR Intentional Interim Rabbis.
Our next training is scheduled for:
Refresh Your Rabbinate:
three-Day Interim training
November 17-19, 2014
Houston, TX
This training introduces invaluable skill sets for all
rabbis in all work settings, particularly the theory,
tools, and tasks of the leader in transition. This
includes the five fundamental process tasks
of the rabbi in a changing system: joining the
system, analyzing the system, connecting to
the larger community, discerning responsibility
and establishing priorities, and evaluating and
adjusting. Learn about systems theory, selfdifferentiation, assessing power, and more.
Registration will go live soon.
Please feel free to be in touch with Debbie Prinz
if you have any questions about this training
or any of our Leadership Initiatives.


CCAR Newsletter Nov-Dec 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Nov-Dec 2013

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