CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 1

CENTRAL

CONFERENCE

OF

AMERICAN

RABBIS

NEWS

Founded In

1889

‫אדר תשע״ה‬/‫שבט‬/‫טבת‬
‫טבת‬/‫חשון כסלו‬
‫תשע"ח‬

Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

‫הרבניםהמתקדמים‬
‫איגודהרבנים‬
‫איגוד‬
‫המתקדמים‬

January * February 2018| Volume 65 - Issue 2
FROM THE PRESIDENT
David Stern

DIRECTOR OF RABBINIC ENGAGEMENT, SUPPORT AND GROWTH
Betsy Torop
I remember my first CCAR Convention clearly. After ordination, I served
a congregation in Melbourne, Australia. My rabbinate was both challenging
and meaningful. "The CCAR" (as we seem to still call convention) was in South
Florida, at a large hotel with beautiful grounds and several swimming pools. After
being so far away, it was joyful and deeply nurturing to see friends and classmates.
At the same time, I was amazed by how many rabbis I did not know and how
much about the CCAR was a mystery to me.

Thursday, November 16
was a long and deep day
in Jerusalem. Here is my
experience of it in four
chapters:
Chapter One: At
8:00 AM, over one
hundred progressive Jews
gathered for a glorious Shacharit service on
the temporary platform near Robinson's Arch.
A sun-dappled morning, first-year cantorial
and rabbinic students along with us gray-hairs,
men and women, Israelis and North Americans,
clergy and lay leaders. We shared a surging
sense of joy and solidarity, and a profound
sense of place.
Chapter Two: At the conclusion of Shacharit,
we proceeded in song to the security gates
at the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza,
eight of us holding Torah scrolls, each with a
fellow participant assigned to either protect us
or push us through, depending on what the
circumstance required. And then the welldocumented confrontation. We said yes, they
said no. We claimed our right, they denied it.
They blocked, we pushed through. Once we
were through the first gates, they tried to set up
others. We pushed through again. Once we
were gathered at the flag, they tried to tear a
Torah scroll from Anat Hoffman's arms. We
held on.
The confrontation was predictable, somewhat
planned, and still harrowing. I had seen lots of
this on video but never experienced it directly.
The tug-of-war over Torah was raw and real,
the rift within our Jewish family heartbreaking. I
thought a lot about political theater, embodied
spirituality, how most of the protests I participate
in at home are safe and cushy. I celebrated
anew the courage of every sister and brother in
our Israeli movement who insists on claiming
the justice, dignity, and respect we deserve.
I worried: that these acts of confrontation,
necessary and just as they are, might define
(Continued on page 3)

Although it took a while to articulate, I came away from that first convention with
a new awareness of some things that were essential to my rabbinate: connection
with friends and colleagues, meaningful opportunities to learn and grow, and the importance of the
CCAR as the organization that would support and help me at each stage of my journey. These initial
thoughts are still very much with me; I find myself thinking back on this experience as I join the staff of
the CCAR as the director of rabbinic engagement, support and growth. Many of you have asked about
what this new position will entail. There are a number of key questions that will initially guide
my work:


* How can we create a culture that supports and sustains rabbis in the daily work they do, at
points of transition, and in the experiences that are most profoundly challenging?



* How can we help rabbis grow over the course of their changing careers, providing study
opportunities at a level of excellence in matters ranging from Torah to technology?



* How can we engage rabbis in a substantive and meaningful way in the work that we do?

These questions have largely emerged from what we have learned from you. For the past several years
you have been giving us feedback about your experiences as rabbis-in Hillels and day schools, in
congregations and organizations, as chaplains and entrepreneurs. In the survey conducted by SharpInsight in 2016, over 700 of you responded to questions about your needs and experiences. We
learned many things, but two in particular stood out. You find deep fulfillment in your rabbinic work.
And you often feel lonely and isolated. Joy and challenge exist side-by-side. In 2017 at the Atlanta
Convention, Sharp-Insight conducted focus groups to deepen our understanding of the feelings of
loneliness and isolation. The full data will be on the website soon, but here are just a few things we
learned from the focus groups.
You voiced the experience of feeling isolated from rabbinic peers and members of your community, as
well as at points of career transition and when geographically distant from colleagues. You spoke about
a number of points of stress: the challenge of managing internal and external expectations, experiencing
heavy workloads and unpredictable schedules (and the impact this has on family), the stress of dealing
with conflict and opposition, the difficulty of finding time for physical and spiritual self-care. Significantly,
the focus groups ended with the opportunity to provide a nechemta to a colleague who was
experiencing any of these things. Rabbis are eager to be present for each other and participants shared
beautiful words: "You are doing holy work," "You are not alone," "Let me help you."
What you have taught us about your lives as rabbis is both important and impactful. It provides
measurable data that will be the foundation of my work. Your input has deepened our knowledge
about rabbinic life and experience and raised questions that will guide our next steps. You do the
sacred work of leading a changing and ever-evolving Jewish community. The CCAR-as your rabbinic
organization-strives to strengthen and support you in this work. It is an honor to join a wonderful staff
team and to serve you, my colleagues.
1



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018

CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 1
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 2
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 3
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 4
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 5
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 6
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 7
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 8
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 9
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 10
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 11
CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar-newsletter-may-june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar-newsletter-march-april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G121493CCAR_JANFEB2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G121493CCAR_NOVDEC2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G120942CCAR_program2020-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G120006CCAR_SEPTOCT2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G118839CCAR_JULYAUG2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G118130CCAR_MayJune2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G116591CCAR_MarchApril2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G114808CCAR_ccar_januaryfebruary2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_novemberdecember2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G110190_ccar_septemberoctober2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G110007_ccar_program2019-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G108502_ccar_julyaugust2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G107070_ccar_mayjune2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G104424_ccar_marchapril2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G102955_ccar_januaryfebruary2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G100626_ccar_novemberdecember2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G98488_ccar_septemberoctober18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G97581_ccar_program2018-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g96798_ccar_julyaugust18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g93944_combined_Nxtbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g92567_ccar_marapr18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g88385_ccar_janfeb18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g85420_ccar_novdec17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g82806_ccar_program2017-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g81898_ccar_septoct17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g79550_ccar_julyaugust17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g77012_ccar_mayjune17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g74115_ccar_marapr17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p72445_ccar_presscatalog_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g71726_ccar_janfeb17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g69487_ccar_program2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g69479_ccar_novdec16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g66966_ccar_septoct2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g59749_ccar_marapr2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/G57794CCAR_janfeb16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g55905_ccar_novdec15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g55467_ccar_program2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_presscatalog_2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g53915_ccar_sepoct15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g52303_ccar_julaug15
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g51260_ccar_mayjune2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g49150_ccar_marapr2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g47771_ccar_janfeb2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g46474_ccar_novdec2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g45072_ccar_2014_2016_programbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g44603_ccar_sepoct2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g43456ccar_julaug2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g42173_ccar_majun2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g40480_ccar_marapr2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g39359_ccar_janfeb2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g38463_ccar_novdec2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_foc2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g36831_ccar_2013_2015programbook
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g36868_ccar_sepoct2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g35408_ccar_julaug2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g34284_ccar_mayjun2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g33961_ccar_april2013convnewsletter
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g32840_ccar_marapr2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g31866_ccar_janfeb2013news
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g31203_ccar_2013convention
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g30708_ccar_novdec2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g29209_ccar_learningopportunities2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g28492_ccar_septoct2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g27500_ccar_jul-aug2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g26692_ccar_june2012newsletter
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g26209_ccar_may2012news
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25534ccar_a2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25202_ccar_program_schedule
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g25048ccar_march12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g24265ccar_feb12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23589ccar_jan12
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23378ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g23012ccar_nxbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g22201ccar_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g22134ccar_finalhr
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/CCAR/g21463ccar_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/ccar_july_aug2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/CCAR/g20502_nxtbk
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/63671_ccar_newsletter_cx1
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/63400_ccar_april2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/d19230_ccar_programresourceguide2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p19239_ccar_mar11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p18776_ccar_feb11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p18224_ccar_jan11
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/g18063_ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p17426_ccar_nov10
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/d16769ccar
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/CCAR/p16948_ccar_oct10
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com