CCAR Newsletter January/February 2018 - 7

the cruelty with which the world has visited us, but
we must also call to mind that our long history
is not of travail alone and remember the heights
we have attained, the contribution to human
civilization that we have made.
We must never forget, in the midst of that
remembrance, that as much as we have been
treated with bestial cruelty, we have also been
showered by acts of decency and kindness that
exceeded the bounds of human compassion, that
during the worst moments of the Shoah there were
those who risked everything for a Jewish family,
a Jewish child. The life stories of these righteous,
where they are known, can become a tapestry of
remembrance, a rejoinder to denial, setting out
on a simple, human level the capacity of men and
women for extreme bravery and compassion even
at a mortal risk.
On Yom HaShoah the statistics still haunt us, we
will always remember them, but among much
else let us never forget those who saved lives
and manifested human decency and in so doing
helped preserve the Jewish people.

(Charles Middleburgh)
We obsess on kashrut when Sh'mini comes
around, and in so doing miss something even
more special. Sh'mini is the single greatest
repository of natural history in the Tanach.
There are references to birds and animals
in other biblical texts (Zephaniah and Job,
for example), but none compares in terms of
detailed nomenclature with Leviticus 11, where
we encounter nineteen species of birds and eight
other animal species-yet we fail to take account
of what this represents! We hold up our Jewish
environmental credentials when we read bal
tashchit in Deuteronomy 20, but fail to appreciate
the implications of the detail in Sh'mini.
What does this extraordinary list tell us? It
demonstrates the levels not just of observation
of the natural world in very ancient times but
an awareness of different species and an initial
attempt to classify them. It demonstrates that our
earliest ancestors were immersed in the world in
which they lived, appreciated and cared for it,
and saw in it a paean of praise for the Creator of
all things.
As a conservationist and environmentalist, I
am moved and inspired to think how much our
forebears knew and understood about the world in
which they lived and the animals with which they
shared it. I am also encouraged by the thought
that however hard their lives may have been they
lifted their gaze to what surrounded them and
recognized their God in all of it.
Al achat kama v'chama should we, who know
so much more about our world, treat it and its
creatures with reverence and respect.

Community Rabbi
Jon Sommer

Bay Area Jewish Healing Center
The idea of the community rabbi
is an evolving one, particularly
perhaps in California, and especially here in the
San Francisco Bay Area, where the entrepreneurial
spirit is active. Both rabbis and lay-led communities
are finding alternative ways to engage with Judaism
outside the traditional communal structures, yet are
integrating tradition with innovation to bring meaning
to their Jewish experience. A dwindling synagogue
affiliation rate of now about 25% in the Bay Area
suggests that if funds and clergy are to meet the
greater need, it is likely now outside the temple. On
the other hand, it would be unwise to strictly define
who or what a community rabbi is. A broad working
definition might include the idea that a community
rabbi is one who serves primarily beyond the
synagogue or the usual chaplaincy institutions (e.g.,
hospitals, military, prisons, residential facilities) and
whose work is directed toward the overall Jewish
community. Examples include Rabbi Noa Kushner's
The Kitchen, Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer's Religion
Outside the Box, and Rabbi Jamie Korngold's The
Adventure Rabbi. The definition is growing, openended, and replete with innovation.

Planting seeds is never a sure thing.
Once you do the easy part, the planting, you
need to wait to see if all of the right ingredients
work together to produce seedlings. Much of our
rabbinic work is like this-planting the seeds of
Judaism, justice, comfort, etc., and waiting to see
what grows from the foundation set out.
Over a year ago, as WRN prioritized its goals,
we especially focused on the issue of the wage
gap within the Reform Movement. This interest
in pay inequity was not alone, of course. It
has gained increasing focus in the American
workplace; other Reform Movement leaders were
also shedding light on the issue. When I invited
the leaders of the Reform Movement to gather a
year ago October, it became clear that within our
movement there were growing efforts to address
the problem, but we were not united. Women of
Reform Judaism executive director (and CCAR
& WRN member) Marla Feldman and I have
since formally joined forces by collaborating to
win a significant grant, from the Jewish Women's
Foundation of NY, to integrate and fuel our
Movement's efforts to combat this injustice. Our
effort is called the Reform Pay Equity Initiative.
The CCAR is, of course, an active partner.
This past October, the Reform Movement
stakeholders gathered again to coordinate
efforts. Our day of synergy, learning, and
planning made it clear that the seedlings are
sprouting beautifully. Every partner organization

The Bay Area Jewish Healing Center (BAJHC), the
agency for which I work, is part of the broader
healing movement in Judaism. After over two
decades it has grown, to use a local Silicon Valley
analogy, from a "small dotcom" to something akin
to an established yet still innovative organization.
Its growth seems to reflect a changing Jewish
demographic and the likely future promise of the
community rabbi. As an agency, our particular focus
is working with those who are ill, dying, and in grief.
Within each of those categories we have a number
of services and programs. It is at moments of illness,
death, and bereavement that individuals frequently
seek to reconnect or reconcile with some earlier
experience of Judaism or Jewish identity, having
likely been alienated for different reasons from the
Jewish community. In addition to our respective
rabbinical training, each BAJHC rabbi has multiple
units of clinical pastoral education (CPE), enabling
us to apply this training to complex life situations.
Rabbis who are now doing community work are
similarly bringing talent, training, new insights,
passion, and creativity, thus making it an exciting
and cutting-edge area of our calling.
The Community Rabbi column is managed by Eric
Weiss. If you are interested in writing a future column,
please contact him at
shared the work they are doing to review their own
employment practices AND to advocate for fair
pay for the employees of the Reform Movement.
To address the pay gap, our Initiative is supporting
efforts on two fronts. First, we call for better data
on the women professionals employed by the
Reform Movement. Using the resources enabled
by our grant, we have hired an economist to help
guide the collection of compensation data and to
integrate the data from the different occupations
(rabbis, cantors, educators, early childhood
educators, executive directors, etc.) into one
executive summary, so that we can understand
how we are doing as a movement. The best data
has been collected by the CCAR (with the help of
the RBP) on the salaries of rabbis. However, our
colleagues in other occupations struggle with data
collection because of a number of unavoidable
factors. The economist will work on this, too.
Second, the initiative is producing toolboxes to
train employees and employers. On the employee
side, the toolbox will educate employees about
the wage gap and provide skills to combat it. On
the employer side, the toolbox will explore ethical
employment and provide training to reduce implicit
bias and employment practices that perpetuate the
wage gap.
The Reform Movement is built on the values of
justice and equality. We can do better. Please
help us bring the seedlings of change to fruition.
Look for the toolbox, hosted by, and use
it at your congregation/institution.
Rabbi Mary L. Zamore
Executive Director, WRN

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