Dear Ma Nishma Subscriber,
I'm happy to deliver to your email doorstep the latest issue of Ma Nishma, featuring news and events from JRF. If you are reading this in an email and it doesn't look right, read it on the web at: http://www.jrf.org/ma-nishma-monthly.
Now everyone can subscribe to Ma Nishma. Register at the JRF website at http://jrf.org/user/register then click "Manage your JRF e-newsletter subscriptions" at the top left of the home page to subscribe.
Newsletter editors and webmasters are invited to lift content for a JRF News page or to use selected stories and announcements in your congregational newsletter and on your website.
Feel free to forward this to anyone you think would enjoy reading Ma Nishma.
Lisa Kelvin Tuttle
JRF Communications Director
In This Issue
We are delighted to report that Jewish Living magazine, in its January/February 2008 issue, cited Camp JRF: The Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus among its Top 10 Jewish overnight camps – “those that best combine a summer of fun with strong reinforcement of religious and cultural identity.”
The magazine compiled the list (reported in alphabetical order) after consulting with camp professionals as well as youth group, Hebrew school and synagogue leaders, plus camp alumni.
Read the write up on Camp JRF from Jewish Living at www.jrf.org/campjrf-top10.
What exciting innovations are on the horizon for Jewish life in the 21st century? What are the most pressing issues facing our communities? In what areas are you seeking new ideas and solutions and have ideas to share?
JRF is accepting proposals for the 2008 JRF Convention in Boston, November 13-16, which will focus on the theme of “Transformative Judaism for the 21st Century.”
Adult Education ~ Camping ~ Congregational Schools ~ Effective Models of Decision Making ~ Ethical Kashrut ~ Fundraising ~ Growth and Communal Transitions ~ Israel ~ Leadership Development ~ Liturgy and Ritual ~ Planned Giving ~ Rabbi/Congregation Relations ~ Spirituality and Spiritual Practices ~ Strategic Planning ~ Sustainability ~ Text Study and Divrei Torah ~ The Arts in Jewish Community ~ Tikkun Olam ~ Youth
To propose a workshop of 90 minutes in length, download the application. See more information about the porposal process at: http://jrf.org/convention. For more information, please contact Myrna Sigman at email@example.com.
Mazal tov to Rabbi Brant Rosen and the Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue (JRC) in Evanston, IL – boldly going where no synagogue has gone before.
As noted in a JTA Breaking News story, JRC is in the process of applying to receive the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program for the congregation's new building.
The "platinum" rating is being sought for features such as using recycled concrete, sensor-controlled lighting and a parking space reserved for a hybrid car. JRC's energy costs will be about 45 percent less than a typical synagogue of the same size, the report said.
For full teachings from JRC on their process see:
Read the article on JRC in Zeek magazine at www.zeek.net/711space.
JRF's new distance-learning program, PEARL: Providing Education and Resources for Leadership, is off to a great start! Our first two calls – on congregational growth and volunteer development – have reached more than 50 participants from a third of our Reconstructionist congregations. One participant shared her excitement: “Kol ha k’vod for a stimulating first PEARL session. The electronic pamphlet and the presentations and Q&A will be quite helpful, filled with excellent ideas.”
Join us over the coming months for calls on topics ranging from dues structures and marketing to governance and Reconstructionism. See the full roster of free tele-classes at http://www.jrf.org/PEARL.
We are excited to announce the publication of a revised addition of Etz Hayim We: Lesson Plans and Resources for Adult Exploration of Megillat Esther. This richly detailed, hands-on resource for Reconstructionist teen and adult exploration of Megillat Esther is chock full of innovative approaches to the themes of Purim.
The Megillat Esther curriculum is divided into five units and each unit into five lessons covering Context, Close Text Study, Creative Midrash, Gender Issues, and “Living in Two Civilizations” -- over 25 lessons-worth of material!
This 100-page, spiral-bound softcover volume is just $15 each.
To order Etz Hayim We: Megillat Esther, contact JRF's Reconstructionist Press at 1-877-JRF-PUBS or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art Rotman Memorial Scholarship Fund for Camp JRF
When Art Rotman and his wife, Anita, visited Camp JRF in 2006, they were deeply touched by the beautiful setting and the spirit of the kids. It was fitting then, that when Art passed away, his family decided to establish a scholarship fund in his honor, to benefit the camp.
The Rotman family would welcome donations to supplement the fund in Art’s memory, to help Jewish children experience the same energy and excitement the Rotmans saw the day they first visited Camp JRF.
Art was a founding member of Dorshei Emet in Montreal and most recently a member of B’nai Keshet in Montclair, NJ. A longtime JCC professional, Art served as executive director of a JCC in Pittsburgh, as well as the executive vice president of JCCA of North America.
Leonard and Phyllis Friend Memorial Scholarship Fund for the No’ar Hadash Teen Israel Experience
When Carol Feder, co-president of Adat Shalom in Bethesda, MD, and her husband Jack picked up their children at Camp JRF this past summer, teen participants of the No’ar Hadash Israel Experience had just returned from Israel, sharing the energy and joy of what this first Reconstructionist youth movement teen trip to Israel was like for them.
Carol’s dad, Leonard Friend, passed away shortly thereafter, and Carol established a fund in her father’s memory to support the important program. Sadly, her mother, Phyllis, has also recently passed away, and Carol is now encouraging donations to the Leonard and Phyllis Friend Memorial Scholarship Fund for the No’ar Hadash Israel Experience.
Donations can be made online to either of these funds at www.jrf.org by clicking on the “Donate Now” button, and noting on the Comment field that the funds are designated for the Art Rotman Memorial Scholarship Fund for Camp JRF or Leonard and Phyllis Friend Memorial Scholarship Fund for the No’ar Hadash Israel Experience.
They can also be mailed directly to JRF at Beit Devora, 101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 430, Jenkintown, PA 19146. For further information contact Barry Nove, Director of Development at email@example.com or call 215-885-5601, ext. 19.
In celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, the Shabbat between Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzmaut has been designated as "Shabbat Israel” by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and will be commemorated in an array of events throughout the country.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, as a member of the Conference of Presidents and a partner in this initiative, invites all JRF congregations to devote the weekend of May 9-11 to special programs marking this historic milestone in Israel’s history.
Here are some helpful links to support your Israel 60 / Shabbat Israel event planning:
Zionism and Communal Covenant: A Reconstructionist Approach To Essential Jewish Principals – an excerpt from the 2004 JRF Israel Policies Task Force Report: http://www.jrf.org/showres&rid=31
A Guide To Talking About Israel In Your Congregation: http://www.jrf.org/showres&rid=27
Reconstructionists Educators' Frequently Asked Questions on Israel: http://www.jrf.org/showres&rid=28
JRF Resource library - Israel section: http://www.jrf.org/israel-resources
Pluralistic Judaism in Israel: A Report from the JRF Convention: http://www.jrf.org/conv06-pluralism
JRF Omer Teaching: Beyond the Human Perspective, Rabbi Michael Cohen, Arava Institute, Israel: http://www.jrf.org/node/967
The first Passover Seder is April 19th. Do you have A Night of Questions, a beautiful Reconstructionist Haggadah for each member of your family and for your guests? Check out this wonderful Haggadah offer from JRF's Reconstructionist Press.
And have you experienced Siddur Kol Hano'ar, the wonderful, colorful siddur for children? Whether for your synagogue, for friends and family, or for your own home, it makes a great gift!
A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah
Rabbi Joy Levitt and Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, Eds.
Illustrated in full color by Jeffrey Schrier
Rooted in tradition, yet accessible to all, this beautifully illustrated volume is a rich resource for the Passover holiday and for your Seder. Softcover, 160 pp., $22.00. JRF Members-only quantity orders: 1-11 $18 each; 12+ $15 each; 100+ $13 each. Special offer: Order 12 books and receive a cassette recording of 30 traditional and contemporary Passover songs as our gift! (Cassette and CD version sold separately.)
Siddur Kol Hano'ar: The Voice of Children
Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Rabbi Jeffrey Schein
Illustrated in full color by Joani Rothenberg
This beautiful hardcover Shabbat prayer book for children ages 5-9 makes a wonderful gift for the whole family to share at home. $24.00 / $21.60 for JRF members. Bulk orders of 22 or more, $18.00 per siddur. Available now: Non-transliterated edition. New printing of the Transliterated edition available March 2008!
Etz Hayim We: Megillat Esther (Revised Edition)
Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, Project Director
Rabbi Erin Hirsh, Curriculum Writer
This richly detailed, hands-on resource for Reconstructionist teen and adult exploration of Megillat Esther is chock full of innovative approaches to the themes of Purim. The Megillat Esther curriculum is divided into five units and each unit into five lessons covering Context, Close Text Study, Creative Midrash, Gender Issues, and “Living in Two Civilizations” -- over 25 lessons-worth of material! Spiral-bound softcover, 100 pp., $15 each.
To order A Night of Questions, Siddur Kol Hano’ar, and Etz Hayim We: Megillat Esther call JRF's Reconstructionist Press at 1-877-JRF-PUBS.
The JRF North American Leadership Series launches this year with a variety of specially designed events to help congregational leaders build strong, dynamic and growing communities. The first three initiatives are:
Sunday March 30, 1:00 to 5:30 pm at West End Synagogue in Manhattan.
The JRF NY/NJ region is thrilled to announce a Kickoff event for Kehillah Kedoshah, a program to support leaders in working on outreach and growth. Through a generous grant from UJA Federation, the NY/NJ Region will be consulting with and providing training sessions for all area Reconstructionist synagogues.
To register for the Kickoff or to learn more about Kehillah Kedoshah contact Hannah Greenstein, JRF NY/NJ Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: April 11-13
Where: Butzel Conference Center in Ortonville, MI
Need a break? Want to re-energize your Shabbat practice? Could your family use some time to relax and be playful together? Come celebrate Shabbat with members of Reconstructionist congregations throughout the Midwest at the JRF Midwest Region Shabbaton.
This gathering for singles and families is conveniently located at the Butzel Conference Center in Ortonville, MI, just an hour's drive from Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing.
The Butzel Conference Center is located on 1,300 acres of beautiful woodland overlooking a scenic lake with hiking, basketball, tennis, mini golf and more.
Register before March 28th and get the Early Bird Rate!
Help spread the word - please download and post the two-sided event flyer.
Learn more and register now at www.jrf.org/midwest_shabbaton.
For more information, contact Rabbi Renee Bauer at email@example.com.
On April 8, 2008, the New York-New Jersey Region of JRF is taking its annual Evening of Celebration to the stage.
We are planning a wonderful evening at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre where we'll be among the first groups to see South Pacific! Rina Awards “Honoring Those Who Bring Joy and Creativity to Our Congregations” in the NJ-NJ Region will be presented following the performance.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 8th, for it will be “some enchanted evening”!
This Evening of Celebration supports and sustains the growth of the Reconstructionist movement and its congregations throughout North America.
Seating is limited! For details and reservations go to www.jrf.org/ny-nj-eoc-2008 or call the JRF NY-NJ Region office at 212-870-2483.
Make sure that your child has the summer of a lifetime at Camp JRF on the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus in the Pocono Mountains. Register online at www.campjrf.org in the Parents section, or print the application and mail to our camp office. Camp JRF is the official summer camp of the Reconstructionist movement.
For more information, call the Camp JRF office at 877-CAMP-JRF (877-226-7573).
Planning an annual Shabbaton or retreat? Consider holding it at Camp JRF on the Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Campus. This beautiful facility in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains is now available for rental for our JRF congregations, boards, religious schools, JRF regional programs, teens, and the like.
For more information, please contact the Camp JRF office at 877-CAMP JRF (877-226-7573).
No’ar Hadash, the Reconstructionist youth movement is excited to announce the North American Teen Kallah, April 11-13 in Philadelphia.
Join us for an amazing teen-only weekend of friends, excitement, fun, laughter, and exploring Philadelphia. Register by March 26th and get the early bird registration rate!
Join Reconstructionist teens from across North America for an amazing month of exploring Israel! Registration is now open for Summer 2008! The trip will run from July 6 – August 3 and is open to entering high school juniors. Thirty teen leaders are already registered – this could be your summer!
With the enthusiasm around JRF's Omer Learning Initiative, as well as the solid response of JRF congregations in the Climate Change Initiative, JRF is continues to deepen its greening work with member communities next year.
Our hope is to motivate and educate our congregations in sustainable practices, with the goal of reaching 100 percent participation in the years ahead, recognizing those JRF communities who excel at sustainable practices at the JRF Convention in Boston, 2008.
For more information contact Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam, SZevit@jrf.org.
2008 Ben and Joan Dickstein Scholar in Residence Weekend to be held February 29th and March 1, 2008
In celebration of its upcoming 25th anniversary, Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA, will host Dr. David Teutsch at its 2008 Dickstein Scholar in Residence Weekend on Friday, February 29th. Dr. Teutsch will discuss “Congregation to Community: a Spiritual Journey,” He will follow with “Celebrating Our Past, Anticipating Our Future: Envisioning the Changing Nature of Jewish Communities” on Saturday evening, March 1st. A former president of The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a noted teacher, speaker and author, Teutsch has played a central role in shaping the Reconstructionist Movement. Rabbi Teutsch was Or Hadash’s very first Dickstein Scholar in Residence; it is most fitting to have him return to help the community celebrate 25 years as a congregation!
Megillat Esther Scroll Completed and Dedicated March 16th and 20th
To commemorate its 25th Anniversary, the congregation has commissioned Rabbi Kevin Hale, Sofer Stam to do the layout for and to scribe a Megillat Esther Scroll. It will be personalized by being illustrated with drawings made by Or Hadash’s own children congregants. This will be an historic document since, to our knowledge, it is the first Megillah to combine hand scribing and digital media technology on kosher parchment! A siyyum (ceremony of completion) and dedication will take place on March 16. The congregation will read from the new scroll for the first time at Erev Purim services on Thursday March 20th.
“The Three Rabbis” Kabbalat Shabbat Service on Friday April 14th
During the 25 years since its inception, Or Hadash has been served by three full-time pulpit rabbis: Rabbi Emerita Vivian Schirn, Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan, currently campus rabbi at Hampshire college, Amherst Massachusetts, and present spiritual leader, Rabbi Joshua Waxman. Join the congregation on Friday evening, April 14th as Or Hadash’s “Three Rabbis” unite to lead Kabbalat Shabbat services. It promises to be a joyous and memorable occasion!
Mishkan Ha'am - The Westchester-Riverdale Reconstructionist Group will gather to celebrate its 10th anniversary at a Gala celebration on Sunday, March 9th. Mishkan Ha’am - the tent of the people - led by Benjamin Weiner, a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, is a community "constructed of the gifts that each one brings: the faith and doubts shared, the questions voiced, the wisdom offered, the melodies sung, the compassion shown, as well as the many forms of hands-on assistance needed to bring activities to life." We wish them a hearty mazal tov and continued joy and fulfillment as a congregation.
Toronto's Darchei Noam has moved into their new "green" synagogue building! Among its features are solar panels, compact fluorescent and ceramic metal halide lights, 100 percent recycled carpeting, no-emission natural paint, insulated window curtains and a reflective, white membrane roof covering. JRF’s president, Robert Barkin, was among the celebrants at a ceremony on January 27th commemorating Darchei Noam’s new home. Ye’asher koach to Rabbi Tina Grimberg and the entire Darchei Noam community!
Kehillath Shalom of Cold Spring Harbor, NY, has begun its winter season volunteering with the Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative, providing a respite site every Wednesday, and cooking and serving breakfast and lunches to men in need.
Samantha McArdle, a member of Shir Hadash in Northbrook, IL, placed into the senior (chamber) choir at her school and will be traveling to London to sing for the queen of England.
Stephen Kay, a member of Congregation Bet Haverim in Atlanta, has published his edited volume Lessons from Pension Reform in the Americas with Oxford University Press.
Launched in 2008
PEARL: Providing Education and Resources for Leadership. For details and to view the full schedule of classes see www.jrf.org/PEARL.
For more information e-mail Isaac Saposnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, March 2, 9 am to 4 pm
Congregational Growth: The Dynamics of Membership, Outreach and Financial Resources. This workshop, held in Skokie, IL, is part of the JRF North American Leadership Series. Learn more and register now at www.jrf.org/north_american_leadership_workshop_skokie.
For more information e-mail Shoshi Braman at email@example.com.
Sunday March 30, 1:00 to 5:30 pm
JRF New York/New Jersey Kehillah Kedoshah Kickoff
The JRF NY/NJ region is thrilled to announce the Kickoff event for Kehillah Kedoshah, a program to support leaders in working on outreach and growth.
To register or learn more about Kehillah Kedoshah contact Hannah Greenstein, JRF NY/NJ Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, April 8
JRF New York/New Jersey Region Evening of Celebration
Production of South Pacific and presentation of the Rina Awards at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, New York, NY.
For details and reservations go to http://jrf.org/ny-nj-eoc-2008 or call the JRF NY/NJ Region office at (212) 870-2483.
Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13
JRF Midwest Region Shabbaton
Butzel Conference Center in Ortonville, MI. Learn more and register now at www.jrf.org/midwest_shabbaton.
For more information contact Rabbi Renee Bauer at email@example.com.
Sunday, May 4 – Monday, May 6
The JRF Leadership Institute for Rabbis and Presidents: Maximizing Your Effectiveness as a Leadership Team
Pearlstein Retreat Center, Baltimore area. This event is part of the JRF North American Leadership Series. For more information e-mail Shoshi Braman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JRF wants to hear about news and upcoming events at your congregation!
Contact Communications Director Lisa Tuttle at email@example.com today.