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Ma Nishma JRF News for May 2009

April 28, 2009 - 10:56am -- Anonymous (not verified)



May 2009 / Iyar - Sivan 5769

Ma Nishma
News from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

In This Issue





PEARL 2009: Navigating Difficult Times

Following a successful inaugural year, JRF’s free PEARL (Providing Education and Resources for Leadership) distance-learning classes will once again provide relevant information and strategies beneficial to congregational leaders and staff. In the context of the present economic crisis, expert speakers will partner with JRF staff and lay leaders with the objectives to keep congregations and havurot strong; grow leadership; and continue critical tikkun olam work.

Each class will meet for 1 ¼ hour either by conference call or webinar and is supported by downloadable resources or previous PEARL audio files. Some classes delve deeper into previously presented topics. These 2.0 and 3.0 listings may ask you to read or listen to downloadable resources and send questions/comments in advance of the class.

Plan to Take Part in These Upcoming Sessions:

Seven Strategies for Successful Organizational Change
May 5 @ 12:00 pm with Rabbi Hayim Herring

Facebook, Twitter and the Revolution of Social Media
May 12 @ 12:00 pm with Rabbi Shai Gluskin

Sustainable Synagogues 3.0
May 14 @ 12:00 pm with Rabbi Shawn Zevit

Cultivating New Leaders for Your Congregation
May 19 @ 12:00 pm with Carol Feder

Values-Based Budgeting
May 21 @ 8:00 pm with Rabbi David Teutsch

CBCO-Congregation Based Community Organizing
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm with Rachel Feldman (JFSJ)

Growing the Soul of Your Community
Jun 11 @ 12:00 pm with Rabbi Shawn Zevit

Get all the details, including upcoming class descriptions and online registration information at

The 2009 National Tribute to Honor Rabbi Jeffrey Eisenstat

This year JRF is delighted to be honoring Rabbi Jeff Eisenstat for his outstanding work and his unending efforts to develop strongly-identified Reconstructionist Jewish youth.

Rabbi Jeff exemplifies the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt: “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” He connects our young people with experiences that foster within them a curiosity and appreciation for their Judaism. As the founding director of Camp JRF, he established an experiential Jewish education curriculum based on Reconstructionism’s “Values of Spiritual Peoplehood” that makes Judaism fun and resonates with our youth. Rabbi Jeff was instrumental in helping to establish Camp JRF as one of the “Top Ten” Jewish overnight camps in the United States.

In his new position as Director of Special Initiatives, Rabbi Jeff is taking his show on the road to JRF congregations across the country, supporting and furthering JRF’s strategic vision for developing the Next Generation of Reconstructionist youth and the future of Reconstructionist Judaism.

We hope you will join us in this wonderful opportunity by placing a heartfelt message to Rabbi Jeff in the National Tribute Journal. Rabbi Jeff has done so much to enrich our movement and ensure its vitality for the future. We have been having a wonderful time honoring him throughout this year.

If you would like to place a personal message or ad in the JRF National Tribute Journal honoring Rabbi Jeff, please fill out and mail back the Tribute Journal form. Ads will be accepted through May 19th. For more information, contact Marla Friedenberg at or 215-885-5601, ext. 28.

2009 JRF Omer Study and Action Initiative - April-June 2009/5769

"Justice, justice you shall pursue." (Deut. 16:20)

“A theology which is not a plan of social action is merely a way of preaching and praying. It is a menu without the dinner.” (Mordecai Kaplan, Not So Random Thoughts)

Thanks to all of you who have been helping to promote the various JRF and other national/international initiatives happening this Pesach and beyond. Our Omer Initiative this year is focused on partnership activities, additional PEARL tikkun olam calls and program/ritual resources. Please keep drawing people's attention to these initiatives, and where you can let us know what they are up to so we can highlight local/regional activities on our webpages.

Come to the JRF’s New Online Bookstore –!

Ready to grow your Reconstructionist book shelf? JRF’s new online bookstore -– -- features the full catalogue of JRF’s Reconstructionist Press, plus CDs, Camp JRF apparel and more. JRF affiliate congregations and members can get a 20% discount on most products. Call 1-877-JRF-PUBS to get your discount code.

The site will always be changing, so be sure to check back often. You can still order everything by phone by calling 1-877-JRF-PUBS.

Special Offers from JRF's Reconstructionist Press

The Reconstructionist Press is offering two new package deals for a limited time. Order online at or call 1-877-JRF-PUBS.

Children’s Siddur Package

[img_assist|nid=2283|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=120][img_assist|nid=2284|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=120]The Reconstructionist Press is offering savings on our Transliterated and Non-transliterated versions of Siddur Kol Ha No’ar: The Voice of Children Siddur for Shabbat. The siddurim are constructed to appeal to children’s religious curiosity and engage them in worship. They are filled with Joani Rothenberg’s beautiful illustrations.

Ycan order online or by phone and receive 2 Transliterated and 1 Non-transliterated Children's Siddur, plus a copy of Rabbi Harold Kushner’s acclaimed When Children Ask About God. (Total value: $85.00)

Children' Siddur Package: $54.00 — includes S & H

These siddurim make wonderful gifts!

Mordecai Kaplan Two-Pack

[img_assist|nid=2304|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=120|height=115]Building your Reconstructionist library? Order now to receive Kaplan's forecast The Future of the American Jew plus Not So Random Thoughts, Kaplan's "witty and profound observation on society, religion and Jewish life". (Total value: $32.95 without discount)

Kaplan Package: $25.00 -- includes S & H

Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim is Back in Stock -- Order Now!

[img_assist|nid=2305|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=85|height=160]Order the newly reprinted Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim Prayerbook for Sabbath and Festivals.

Price: $32
Member Price: $26.50
S&H: $6 for the first book, $1 each additional

Order online or call 1-877-JRF-PUBS.

JRF’s Sustainable Synagogue Initiative

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.

A full listing of the 7 weeks of teaching packets from the JRF Omer Initiative is available at and the three related Tikkun Olam conference calls held as part of this year's PEARL initiative, available at

Please refer to the following additional links to find specific resources for tikkun olam:

Get all the details on JRF’s Sustainable Synagogue Initiative.

For more information contact Rabbi Shawn Zevit, director of outreach and tikkun olam,

JRF West Mini Camp - "Next Generation” Retreat for Reconstructionist Youth

JRF West Mini Camp, Malibu, California – 3rd through 7th Grades - June 30-July 5

From June 30-July 5 JRF West Mini Camp will partner with the outstanding facilities and staff of Camp JCA Shalom in the beautiful mountains of Malibu. Under the direction of Rabbi Jeff Eisenstat, Founding Director of Camp JRF, a taste of Reconstructionist Camping will come to the JRF Western Region with our exciting experiential educational programs and specialty areas such as challenge course, sports, environmental education, music, dance, ceramics, soccer and horseback riding. This program is open to all our Western Region JRFers from 3rd-7th grades. Registration is open now until May 1. Download the JRF West Mini Camp brochure and registration form.

Camp JRF Seeks Talented Staff for Summer 2009

Staff applications are being accepted for a Sports Director, Community Life Specialist and a for few more female Madrihim (counselors).

The role of the Community Life Specialist is to support the staff regarding concerns with campers that may arise during the summer. This individual is expected to visit the eidot (units) throughout the day to observe camper interactions and to work closely with the Camp Director to take notice of particular campers with special needs. Extensive experience working with children is essential; camp experience and a degree in social work, psychology, or a related field are preferred. Recent graduates or someone with more experience are preferred, but we would be willing to take an exemplary graduate student who has already successfully completed at least their first year in an MSW or psychology program. The dates of employment are June 16th through August 18th, and the salary depends on resume, experience and interview. The Community Life Specialist who worked for us during the 2007 and 2008 summer seasons would be happy to talk to any interested applicants regarding this position.

The Sports Director oversees the athletic component of our camp program. The Sports Director must have extensive teaching experience and a high level of proficiency in this specialty, preferably in a number of sports. S/he must be able to integrate recreational activities and healthy competition with a clear sense of safety and Jewish values. S/he is responsible for ensuring that all equipment and facilities are used safely and remain in good repair. This position is open to college graduates and older.

Madrihim live in cabins with the campers. They are involved in every aspect of camp, providing the best possible camping experience for their campers. As responsible, mature young adults, madrihim serve as role models for the campers in how to lead a healthy, Reconstructionist life. In addition to living in a cabin and, along with a co-counselor, being primarily responsible for the participation and well-being of the 10-12 campers in that cabin, counselors may also specialize in a program area (e.g., sports, education, challenge course, art, etc.). When applying, individuals should request program areas in which they have some expertise (additional training will be provided during Staff Orientation). Applicants will be hired as general counselors; placement into appropriate eidot (units) and specialty areas will take place approximately a month prior to the summer. Graduating high school seniors and older are eligible for this position.

If you know a talented young person looking for a rewarding summer leadership experience, have him or her download the staff application in the Staff section at or call Julia Tauber, Camp JRF's Assistant Director for Program, at 877-CAMP-JRF, ext. 32.

Camp JRF is Available for Your Special Events

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).

Summer Institute for RENA Educators - July 17-19, 2009

The RENA Summer Institute will take place July 17th – 19th at Camp JRF. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Reconstructionist Educators to come together for a fun and education-packed weekend at Camp JRF this summer. RENA (Reconstructionist Educators of North America) has expanded the professional development opportunities offered during the Summer Institute as a result of the demise of CAJE and hopes you will come be a part of the experience.

We will celebrate Shabbat with the Camp JRF community and be able to observe the creative learning that takes place at camp, while also spending quality time in our own workshops and discussions about 1) Integrating Jewish Content into Experiential Activities, 2) Best Practices in Shabbat Programming for Congregational Schools, 3) Translating Camp-Style Education into Congregation School Education and 4) The Relationship Between RENA and JRF.

There will also be opportunities to meet and learn with Rabbi Isaac Saposnik, Director of Camp JRF and No’ar Hadash and other key camp staff, Rabbi Erin Hirsh, JRF Director of Education, and Cindy Shulak-Rome, Chair of the JRF Education Committee-in-formation. It’s never too late to join RENA! If you join now, you only have to pay half price for the remainder of the year ($27). There is NO registration fee for the Summer Institute.

If you plan to come or are considering doing so, please contact Kim Bodemer or Rabbi Erin Hirsh at A complete schedule and hotel information can be downloaded at

Harmoniyah 2nd Biennial Retreat October 29 - November 1, 2009

Thursday, October 29 - Sunday, November 1, 2009
in Bethesda, Maryland (just outside Washington, DC)

Experience a wonderful opportunity for learning, professional development, spiritual growth, lots of music-making and seeing old and new friends in the JRF world.

This year’s retreat is hosted by Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. Stay tuned for more info.

Harmoniyah is the music network of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. It is a group of talented musicians, both professional and volunteer, who serve JRF congregations in a myriad of musical and spiritual ways.


Going Out On The Town…With JRF! -- Midwest FUNdraiser 2009

[img_assist|nid=2231|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=150|height=185]Register Online Now.

This year, JRF is nationally honoring Rabbi Jeff Eisenstat, founding Director of Camp JRF and No’ar Hadash – the Reconstructionist youth movement.

Please purchase a tribute to Rabbi Jeff and/or your favorite Midwest Region honoree and plan on joining us at the last of our upcoming FUNdraiser events:

Thursday, May 7, 7:30 pm – Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Chase Bank Auditorium at Chase Tower 10 South Dearborn Street, Chicago – chat with the hosts and panelists after the show.

JRF Midwest Region Family Journey to Israel in Summer 2009

[img_assist|nid=2141|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=240|height=160]JRF Midwest Region Family Journey to Israel - June 23 - July 7, 2009
Led by Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow and and Dawn Weiner-Kaplow of Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue, Northbrook, Illinois

Come to Israel to discover your Jewish historical and spiritual roots in the land and its people. Starting and ending in Jerusalem, we will track Jewish civilization from Biblical days to the bustling and exciting modern State of Israel. Our tour will explore Israeli society, culture, art, technology, spirituality, politics and more.

Get all the details and download the flyer at

To register or receive more information, contact Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Synagogue at 847- 498-8218 or


The Bet Am Shalom Theater Project will perform an original work entitled "Deja Vu" on Saturday, May 2 at 8:45 pm, and Sunday, May 3 at 1:30pm. "Deja Vu" is a musical play of epic dimensions spanning thousands of years from Abraham to present day as told by a writer visiting Israel. The book, music and lyrics were written by a group of creative and talented members of Bet Am Shalom, R. Vincent Park, Ilene Semiatin, Richard Woodrow, Merrill Rotter and Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller. Admission is $25. For reservations, please call the synagogue office at (914) 946-8851.

Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, MA, had a wonderful first-ever interfaith service-learning trip this past February to New Orleans. Fourteen CDT members—adults, teens, and young adults—and 15 members of another congregation were hosted by Trinity Christian Community (TCC), a community-based service group that has been helping with rebuilding and overseeing volunteers around the city. One of the speakers the group met gave them this challenge: What would it mean to see their service trip not as charity, but as an act of solidarity with those for whom they were working? Rabbi Toba Spitzer reflects that for many on the trip there was a sincere sense of receiving more than they gave, and that “to truly be in solidarity, we need to be engaged in a larger project of transformation, for our own sakes as well as for the sake of those victimized by Katrina and by racism and economic oppression more generally.”

Kehilat HaNahar, the “Little Shul by the River, in New Hope, PA, held a Mussar Retreat (Shabbaton), the weekend of April 24-26, facilitated by Alan Morinis of The Mussar Institute. Who would not want to be more patient, show more gratitude, or get a better handle on our anger, all in a manner that brings us closer to our true good character and nature -- in ways that enhance, not interfere with, our daily interactions and activities? The Shabbaton was open to anyone from any walk of life who is seeking a way to enhance his or her spiritual practice. This program was funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia held its “One Book Mishkan” weekend program: “Peacebuilding in the Holy Land” on April 24 and 25 with Scholar-in-Residence Yehezkel Landau, Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations at Hartford Seminary and Co-Founder of Open House Center for Jewish-Arab Coexistence. Professor Landau discussed the weekend's theme, “Healing the Holy Land: Interreligious Peacebuilding in Israel & Palestine” and shared the story of The Lemon Tree and answered questions. At Shabbat services Saturday morning, Professor Landau spoke about “Biblical Resources for Peacebuilding: Lessons from Genesis." The program was co-sponsored by the Library & Israel Committees of Mishkan Shalom & The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA, hosted two special events the weekend of April 24 and 25th. On Friday April 24, Professor Lani Raider, Associate Professor at the Culinary Institute of America, spoke on “Eating Deliciously and with Conscience: How We Can Support the Environment with Our Food Choices". The food choices we make now are more important than ever before. Eating is not a neutral act; our food consumption reflects and impacts much more than merely the calories needed to sustain life—it is a gateway to our past, our present and our future. Professor Raider has worked as a teacher, caterer and food researcher in the U.S. and Israel, and on faculty at The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. On Saturday evening, the shul hosted a coffeehouse benefitting Habitat for Humanity, with entertainment provided by Or Hadash congregants and guest artists.

Tell us about it!

JRF wants to hear about news and upcoming events at your congregation!

Contact Lisa Tuttle at today.

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