CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 1







Founded In


‫אלול תשע''ד‬-‫אב‬-‫תמוז‬

Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

July * August 2015 | Volume 62 - Issue 6

‫איגוד הרבנים המתקדמים‬
Rex Perlmeter

Denise L. Eger

‫לא אירא רע כי אתה עמדי‬

Dear Colleagues,
Over the course of the summer,
many of us will travel to Israel
and to many other places both in
North America and beyond. After
my recent visit to the World Union
of Progressive Judaism conference
in Rio de Janeiro, I realize
more than ever how our travels both personal and
communal can help build up Reform Judaism both at
home and abroad.
The WUPJ Connections Convention brought together
Reform and Liberal Jews from around the world. Rio
de Janeiro is a beautiful city on the beaches of the
Atlantic, filled with a special kind of hospitality. Before
the actual convention began, I had the chance to
address our colleagues who gathered as part of a
rabbinic kallah. Thirty rabbis gathered to learn with the
president of HUC-JIR, Dr. Aaron Panken, as well as
share from their lives and rabbinates. Every continent,
sans Antarctica, was represented. I heard many of the
same struggles and successes that we share together.
And I heard several struggles and successes unique
to the global scene and the place of Liberal/Reform
Judaism in various countries where progressive Judaism
is truly the minority among the Jewish population.
One of the things that our colleagues asked of me is to
extend an invitation to you to help their communities.
Whether as part of a congregational trip or on
your own travels, contact the local WUPJ affiliated
community. Spend Shabbat with them. Call the rabbi
and connect. They are hungry for our colleagueship
and want to increase our cooperation together.
Whether they are in Europe, South Africa, the countries
of the Former Soviet Union, Israel, Central or South
America or Australia, Asia or New Zealand, our
colleagues have extended to each of us a warm
and open invitation to connect with them and their
communities. One of the greatest mitzvot you could do
is to take an afternoon of your travels and meet with
the local Reform Jewish community, offer to teach a
class, simply schmooze with their lay leaders, or take
their rabbi to lunch. You will be welcomed with open
arms. Let our colleagues know you are coming.
(Continued on page 8)

I've had two recent occasions to contemplate the middah of bitachon,
and I continue to marvel at the challenge of seeking and holding it, as
well as of people's willingness to try. It is an awe similar to that which I
experience working with our members, whether they are wrestling with
matters of daily life or of more esoteric nature. As your social work intern
for Member Care and Wellness, I am fortunate to get to witness both.
Since I began my service with the CCAR last September, in
partial fulfillment of requirements in pursuit of a Master's of
Social Work from the Silver School of New York University, I
have experienced the privilege of working with dozens of you
in a variety of capacities including short-term psychotherapy
using a combination of techniques drawn primarily from
the psychodynamic and cognitive realms. Preceded by an
exploratory conversation, the treatment continues with about
seven sessions by phone, Skype, or-when possible-face-toface. Colleagues have presented with a variety of immediate
concerns, ranging from serious personal and professional trauma
to an open curiosity about where this kind of inquiry might lead.
All of this work is carried out in confidence; with the superb
support of my social work supervisor, Janice Katz, whose wisdom
constantly guides my steps.
Spiritual direction, a time-tried and invaluable practice, reimagined and reinvigorated in
the Jewish community in recent decades, is conducted in a similar manner. In this capacity, I
have the honor of bearing witness to colleagues' inner conversations with or searches for the
Presence of God as it gets "heard into speech." Though students at HUC-JIR campuses have
had access to spiritual direction over the last several years, through this internship it is now
available in the short term to CCAR members as well. Colleagues whom I have companioned
through this year have brought a variety of questions and struggles into this practice, and we
journey-often through difficult places-together.
Additional offerings have included two online mindfulness classes for CCAR members, the
latter of which we have just concluded, and we look forward to offering more of these as well
as similar opportunities in the area of peer supervision and group spiritual direction in the
upcoming year.
All of these opportunities are available as a benefit of membership. And all of them can be a
powerful enhancement of bitachon-reminding us that even in the valley of the shadow of
deepest darkness, none of us is alone. The Presence is with us as well-as we each experience
it individually, and as it is lived through the outstretched hand and heart of your Conference
and its members.
I can be reached at, or by phone at 410-207-1700. Also,
remember that in addition to me, in times of crisis the other members of our Rapid Response
Team are always available to you. Seth Bernstein is available to you at 508-340-0951. Ruth is
available to take your calls at 513-325-0580.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015

CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 1
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 2
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 3
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 4
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - Insert1
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - Insert2
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 5
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 6
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 7
CCAR Newsletter July - Aug 2015 - 8