CCAR January 2011 Newsletter - (Page 1)

CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS Founded In January 2011 1889 Publication of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Volume 58 – Number 4 FROM THE PRESIDENT Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus s I write this, I am putting the finishing touches on plans for my sabbatical month in January. Jim and I will spend a week somewhere warm (we need to escape Chicago winter!) and I will be part of our CCAR “Renewal in Israel” trip and then meet the Chicago Federation Rabbinic Mission for the rest of the month. I look forward to meeting with some of our Israeli colleagues, with HUC students, and seeing friends and family. Every trip to Israel energizes me and gives a renewal of spirit. We are grateful for every opportunity to reconnect with Israel: land and people; food, politics, language, enthusiasm, history, culture, reality. Each of us from chutz laaretz could make a list of our favorites, the things we must see and purchase and feel and eat and experience, the people we love, the people we barely tolerate, the people we find charming or infuriating or amusing. We go to visit Israel, not the Disney version of Israel. In February, the Reform Jewish world is coming to America. The World Union for Progressive Judaism is meeting in San Francisco, and I am delighted to participate in part of the convention. While I understand that it is difficult to attend many conferences at a time when finances are tight, if you have the interest and the means, you should look into and consider the Rabbinic Kallah on February 7 and 8 and the convention that follows. We are all looking forward to our exciting CCAR Convention in New Orleans in March. Your convention committee has (Continued on page 4) A NEW VISION FOR REFORM JUDAISM – ADD YOUR VOICE TO THE CONVERSATION Rabbi Steven A. Fox, CCAR Chief Executive he Rabbis of the Reform Movement stand at a unique moment in time – a time for rabbinic leadership to cultivate conversations about a new vision for Reform Judaism; a vision to guide Reform Jewish life, to inform the creation or renewal of organizational and congregational Missions, to facilitate programs and services within our local communities and for our national organizations; a vision which will preserve that which is precious about Reform Judaism and look to areas of innovation. Indeed this is one of the ways in which we bring to life the CCAR Mission which provides that we “strengthen and enrich the Jewish community” by “amplifying the voice of the Reform Rabbinate.” The voices of Reform Rabbis and the communities you lead need to be heard. To provide all Reform Rabbis the opportunity to be heard, I will be hosting conversations during each of the upcoming regional kallot I attend around the country and during the CCAR Convention in New Orleans and Boston. During these meetings, we will also consider ways in which you might bring this important conversation into your communities. In addition, the spring edition of the CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly will be on this topic; the CCAR Board of Trustees is dedicating a portion of each of its meetings on study and conversation about the future; concurrently, we are working with our partners at the URJ and HUC-JIR looking at these issues on a broader scale through the work of the Reform Leadership Council and the Reform Jewish Think Tank. I look forward to hearing your voices as our collaborative work on creating A New Vision for Reform Judaism unfolds. A T APPOINTMENT OF PLACEMENT DIRECTOR W e are delighted to report to you that Rabbi Alan Henkin has accepted the position of Director of Rabbinical Placement. He will assume that position next July succeeding Interim Director Rabbi Lenny Thal, to whom we all owe enormous gratitude. Alan is well-known to many members of the Conference and throughout the Reform Movement. A native of the Chicago area, Alan has served as the Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Council of the URJ and, more recently, he has been the rabbi of the newly created West District of the Union. Previously, he served as a congregational rabbi for 20 years as rabbi of Beth Knesset Bamidbar in Lancaster, CA, and Beth Solomon of the Deaf. Alan has also been involved in his CCAR region, having been on the board of PARR for many years and even serving as president. In addition to his s’micha from HUC-JIR, Alan holds a Ph.D. in Ethics from the University of Southern California and an A.B. from USC, where he was Phi 1 Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude. He is a frequent teacher at HUC-LA, has lectured at USC, and is the author of numerous publications published in both Jewish and secular periodicals. He has conducted classes, workshops and training for rabbis and laypersons throughout our Movement. The Placement Director Search Committee found a great wealth of talent, dedication and experience among those colleagues who offered themselves for this crucial and challenging position. In Alan, the Committee found an individual who combines empathy, creativity and dedication to rabbis and the Movement with his professional experience and background. Alan is someone who can “hit the ground running” handling the many issues which arise in the placement process while simultaneously helping us look to the future of placement in an ever-changing Jewish world. We believe that our Conference—individually and collectively—and the entire Reform Movement will be blessed with Alan Henkin as our Director of Placement.

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CCAR January 2011 Newsletter