CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 1




Founded In


‫טבת תשע״ה‬/‫חשון כסלו‬
‫ אדר‬2014 | Volume 62 - Issue 2
* December






March * APRIL 2016 | Volume 63 - Issue 4

Dan Medwin

Denise L. Eger
One of the joys of being
CCAR President is to
interact and meet so many
colleagues. I have been on
the road for the Conference
since last March, meeting
CCAR members all over
North America and
beyond. Our Conference is global! I have met
with colleagues at their regional gatherings of
PARR, MWARR, and SWARR, Connecticut area
colleagues, and Pittsburgh area colleagues,
as well as so many of you at the URJ Biennial,
where I had the opportunity to represent you
by addressing the Plenum. I spent time in
Berlin meeting with our German colleagues
and the next generation of rabbis at the
Geiger College, and last spring, I met many
South American, Australian, and European
We are a diverse and talented group. It is
inspiring to see and hear the deep love of
Torah and Israel that our rabbis teach and
instill in their communities everyday. We have
so much to be proud of. I have marveled as
I travel at the creativity and dedication of the
Reform rabbinate.
The challenges we rabbis face in this rapidly
advancing 21st century are enormous. I don't
have to recount them to you. But as I have
listened to your concerns, your worries, and
the multiple ways you are each meeting these
challenges and rapid change, I have seen
firsthand that we rabbis are meeting
the challenges of transformation, change,
and engagement.
Our CCAR is poised at this time to give you
the tools you need to take your rabbinate
to the next level and to lift the communities
you serve toward greater connection and
involvement with our eternal covenant. Our
Lifelong Learning Committee and program
manager Rabbi Victor Appell continue to
bring us extraordinary learning opportunities
both online and in person. These "meet ups"

21st Century Rabbi
What is a rabbi in the 21st century? One hundred years ago, it was much
easier to define what a rabbi was. First and foremost, he was a man.
We are fortunate to have The Sacred Calling (coming soon!), to reflect upon
and appreciate four decades of women in the rabbinate. But other than
gender, a Reform rabbi even fifty years ago certainly had a congregation
and led services.
So much of our world has changed since then. As Jews, we have access to the entirety of the world's
information in our pockets. We are fully integrated into American life. We have families of all
shapes and sizes. And we have infinite ways, online and off, to experience "community" and, however
fractured, have our social and spiritual needs addressed. While these changes seem dramatic, we
are comforted by the knowledge that this isn't the first time that the world, the character of Jewish
community, and the role of the rabbi have undergone change. We find ourselves again in a new era.
Since the Rabbinic Judaism of the post-Temple
era took about 500 years to coalesce, we may
only see the beginnings of what Jewish life
might be like one hundred years from now. But
just as the rabbis existed prior to, and helped
the transition from, the destruction of the Temple,
so too are rabbis today able to lead the next
shift. And the seeds of what the rabbinic role
may become might already be present in our
communities. There are a significant number
of colleagues in roles other than traditional
congregational positions, and new creative
positions are appearing regularly.

"At times, I think of myself
as a digital sofer, standing
in the line of many rabbis,
bringing our sacred texts
from one generation to
another, in a new form."

I certainly never imagined that my rabbinate would involve the creation and delivery of rabbinic
resources through media and technology. At times, I think of myself as a digital sofer, standing
in the line of many rabbis, bringing our sacred texts from one generation to another, in a new
form. Other times I am privileged to "rabbi the rabbis" by providing a non-anxious presence while
teaching the "torah of new technologies." I'm blessed to be able to use my rabbinic perspective
and technological proficiency to help my colleagues explore the new skills needed and embrace the
opportunities presented by our current era.
Ultimately, I am proud that the CCAR, an organization of and for my colleagues, recognizes the
importance of looking to the future-in terms of both our commitment to exploring new technologies
and the broadening definition of what it means to be a rabbi in the 21st century. The resources
dedicated to the creation of my position, now known as "digital media manager," are just one of
many ways the CCAR demonstrates a commitment to investing in the future of Jewish life. Whether
it's as practical as adding more webinars and resources for "community-based" rabbis, or as subtle
and symbolic as no longer using the term "non-congregational rabbi," we are expanding our
understanding of what it means to be a rabbi today, so rabbis can guide the Jewish people for the
next millennia to come.

(Continued on page 3)


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016

CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 1
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 2
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 3
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 4
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 5
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 6
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 7
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 8
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 9
CCAR Newsletter Mar-Apr 2016 - 10