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Ma Nishma - JRF News for November 2008

October 22, 2008 - 2:27pm -- Anonymous (not verified)

[img_assist|nid=1353|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=120|height=120][img_assist|nid=528|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=240|height=54]Dear [i]Ma Nishma[/i] Subscriber,

I'm happy to deliver to your e-mail doorstep the latest issue of [i]Ma Nishma[/i] ("What's Happening?"), featuring news and events from JRF.

Now everyone can subscribe to [i]Ma Nishma[/i]. Register at the JRF website at then click "Manage your JRF e-newsletter subscriptions" at the top left of the home page to subscribe.

[b]Newsletter editors and webmasters:[/b] Please reprint stories and announcements from this issue for a JRF News page in your congregational newsletter and on your website.

[b]Those who send Weekly Update e-mails:[/b] Please disseminate [i]Ma Nishma[/i] along with your regular posting.

Please forward this to anyone you think would enjoy reading [i]Ma Nishma[/i].

Download this issue of Ma Nishma as an MS Word document, for easier cut/paste into

synagogue newsletters.


Lisa Kelvin Tuttle
JRF Communications Director

[h2]November 2008 / Heshvan - Kislev 5769

Ma Nishma
News from the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation[/h2]

[b]In This Issue[/b]

  • Register NOW for the 42nd JRF Convention - Boston, Nov. 13-16
  • Breaking News from JRF’s Reconstructionist Press: Limited 10th Anniversary Edition of A Night of Questions Haggadah
  • Camp JRF Summer 2009 Registration Now Open!
  • Camp JRF is Available for Your Special Events
  • Calling all Reconstructionist Teens: No’ar Hadash Events
  • Heshvan is Jewish Social Action Month
  • JRF’s Sustainable Synagogue Initiative
  • Tents of Hope for Darfur Event, November 7-9
  • Birkat HaHammah - The Blessing of the Sun, April 8, 2009
  • Marketing Your Congregational Message
  • Save the Date: RRC 40th Anniversary Celebration – December 7
  • Congregational news / Kol HaKavod!


Register NOW for the 42nd JRF Convention
Nov. 13-16, 2008 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel

[img_assist|nid=1711|title=|desc=|link=url|url=|align=left|width=240|height=236][i]“Transformative Judaism for the 21st


We are fast approaching the largest gathering of Reconstructionists in North America for four enriching days of learning, building connections, and sharing best practices to strengthen and grow our Reconstructionist communities and ourselves.

Make the decision to come to Boston for a fantastic experience of Reconstructionist community.


[b]A Plenary Session on Identity, Community and Leadership[/b] is a dialogue between the generations — those involved today in creating "emerging communities" and those who were shapers of the Havurah movement in the '60s and '70s, now serving as leaders of the Reconstructionist Movement. [[i]If you're reading this electronically, click on presenters' names throughout to read their bios.[/i]] Participants will include Rabbi David Teutsch, Zachary Teutsch, Rabbi Michael Strassfeld and Sarah Liebman.

[b]Four special Forums[/b] will immediately follow the opening plenary, giving us an opportunity to explore the themes raised as we engage in conversations with leaders in their fields:

[b]Jonathan Sarna[/b], the foremost expert on American Jewish history, will join us on Thursday evening

with a talk entitled [b][i]American Judaism at a Crossroads: A Perspective on Reconstructionism from a Jewish Historian[/i][/b]. Read the September 5 interview with Dr. Sarna in the [i]Forward[/i].

[b]Noah Feldman[/b], recently named by New York Magazine as one of "the influentials" in ideas, will be our special guest speaker during Friday’s Reconstructionist community plenum luncheon. Feldman's expertise is on the relationship between law and religion in the West and Middle East. Read Constitutionalism in the Muslim World: A Conversation with Noah Feldman from

[b]Shabbat services as you've never experienced them before[/b], filled with ruach (spirit) and kavannah (intention), will bring us together as an extended Reconstructionist family.

[b]Beit Midrash sessions on Shabbat afternoon[/b] include informal text study, creative exploration of Reconstructionist liturgy, and a celebration of the arts.

[b]A special screening of Praying with Lior[/b], an award-winning film by Ilana Trachtman. The film celebrates the Reconstructionist Bar Mitzvah of Lior Liebling, who has Down Syndrome, and explores themes of disability and spirituality.

[b]Networking opportunities[/b] throughout Convention will facilitate connections between our communities, such as break-out sessions, affinity group meetings, and receptions. Come and contribute your questions and your congregation’s best practices to the conversations!

Harmoniyah--the Reconstructionist Music Network and RENA (Reconstructionist

Educators of North America) will be participating in our Convention again this year.

[b]Visit sights of Jewish interest in Boston[/b] or participate in a [b]tikkun olam service opportunity[/b] on Sunday.

[i]And much more![/i]

Register now and save $75! Get all the details and register at

Breaking News from JRF’s Reconstructionist Press: Limited 10th Anniversary Hardcover Edition Passover Haggadah

The Reconstructionist Press is excited to unveil a commemorative 10th Anniversary hardcover edition of A Night of Questions, the Reconstructionist Passover Haggadah, at the 42nd JRF Convention in Boston this November.

This 10” x 10” hardcover gift edition contains all of artist Jeffrey Schrier’s magnificent original artwork from the softcover edition plus a new section, “The Seder as a Spiritual Practice” by Rabbi Michael Strassfeld.

Author/editors Rabbi Joy Levitt and Rabbi Michael Strassfeld will be personally signing copies at Convention. In honor of this special edition, 1% of proceeds will be donated to Hurricane Relief efforts.

  • Savings on all orders: JRF is offering a 35% savings off the $72 list price on all orders: Final cost is $54 each.
  • Advance Orders: Only 1,000 copies will be printed. You may place an advance order from November 1st through Convention. Pre-orders will be shipped after January 1st.
  • JRF Convention Special: Purchase 2 Haggadot signed by the authors for $100.

Order A Night of Questions commemorative edition by mail with a check payable to Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and send to JRF, Beit Devora, 101 Greenwood Avenue, Suite 430, Jenkintown, PA 19046, or order by credit card by calling 877-JRF-PUBS.

Camp JRF is Available for Your Special Events

[img_assist|nid=1617|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=120|height=95]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).

Calling all Reconstructionist Teens: No’ar Hadash Events for 8th-12th Graders


  • Western Teen Kallah - January 9-11[/b] at BB Camp, Portland, OR
  • [b]Midwest Youth Kallah - February 13-15[/b] at Camp Henry Horner, Ingleside, IL
  • [b]North American Teen Kallah - April 17-19[/b], Location TBD

and also . . .

  • [b]No'ar Hadash Goes to Panim el Panim - March 15-18[/b] in Washington, DC.

The Panim el Panim seminar brings together diverse groups of 10th-12th grade students from around the country to explore public policy and social activism through a Jewish lens. Details to follow!

To register for the Eastern Teen Kallah or to check out pictures from past kallot log on to If you have any questions please contact No’ar Hadash Program Coordinator Alanna Sklover at or 215-885-5601, ext. 26. We can’t wait to see you!

Heshvan is Jewish Social Action Month

The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation is once again enthusiastically joining Jewish communities, organizations and individuals from around the world in celebrating a month of social action and Jewish unity. The Hebrew month of Heshvan – which in 2008/5769 will be from October 30-November 27, 2008 – has been declared Jewish Social Action Month (JSAM).

Whether you call it Tikkun Olam, social action, chesed - Join thousands of Jewish organizations and individuals around the world of all backgrounds and affiliations for a month of unity through social action. Volunteer with children, rally for Darfur, clean up a river, feed the homeless, raise money for Sderot, paint a mural – or do whatever you are passionate about. Watch the JSAM video on You Tube!

Jewish Social Action Month is an initiative of KolDor, a global network of young Jewish leaders and

For more information visit

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, recognizing those JRF communities who excel at sustainable practices at the JRF Convention in Boston, 2008.

A full listing of the 7 weeks of teaching packets 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 [i]tikkun olam[/i]:

Information on JRF’s Sustainable Synagogue Initiative can be found on the JRF website’s environment pages at and

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

Tents of Hope for Darfur Event – November 7-9

The mission of the Tents of Hope project is to support a one-year process in which people respond as communities to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan by creating tents that are both unique works of art and ongoing focal points within communities for learning about, assisting and establishing relationships with the people of Sudan.

The tents are not answers in themselves. Rather, they are points of entry for more concrete forms of Darfur advocacy. Since the launch of Tents of hope in 2004, the American Jewish World Service, the Save Darfur Coalition (of which JRF and the RRA are members) and other faith and non-profit groups have joined as participating organizations.

The structure of the Tents of Hope project is decentralized and temporary. It is a one-year project in which local communities are responsible for taking the initiative to shape the project both through the creation of the tents as works of art and the use of the tents as focal points for education, advocacy and fundraising for humanitarian assistance. National coordination is focused on giving support to these local efforts in such areas as the project website and the national event in Washington, DC, November 7-9, 2008.

For more information and to register for the Tents of hope event in Washington go
Also see

Birkat HaHammah - The Blessing of the Sun, April 8, 2009

[b]North American Solar and Renewable Energy Campaign in the Jewish Community[/b]

The year 5769 (2008-2009) will be the little known Jewish year of “Birkat HaHammah” the “blessing of the sun.” Every 28 years, the ancient rabbis demarked a time in the Jewish calendar that celebrates the ceremonial return of the sun to its original place in the cosmos during creation.

JRF is part of a national coalition that will use this rare event to focus on solar power and energy stewardship.

See as it goes live!

Marketing Your Congregational Message

Thursday, November 6th, 2008, 6:00 - 8:45 pm.

Congregations in the New York-New Jersey region will meet to consider what makes them unique, and will learn how to communicate this message to the greater community. Participants will discuss marketing strategies tailored to different audiences.

For more information contact

Save the Date for RRC’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

[b][i]RRC at 40 – Building the Future[/i] - Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 12 pm[/b]

2008 Annual Event honoring Howard and Maureen Blitman. Event Chairs: Harry and Karen Waizer, Jesse and Maris Krasnow Honorary Chairs: Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman, Rabbi Lester Bronstein and Cantor Benjie Schiller.

Bet Am Shalom Synagogue, 295 Soundview Avenue, White Plains, NY 10606.

For more information contact Nancy Bernstein at 215-576-0800, ext 143 or at

Congregational News / Kol HaKavod!

Shir Hadash in Northbrook, IL, is planning its 3rd annual Yom Tikkun Olam (Day to Repair the World) for November 2, 2008. This congregation wide event, with activities organized throughout the day and around the area, benefits children, the environment, the elderly, poverty, animals, people who protect us and people with special needs. For details, contact the synagogue office at 847-498-8218.

Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia invites members of Reconstructionist congregations in the Mid-Atlantic region to take part in Jewish, Alive and American. The course officially began on Wednesday, October 29, and is still accepting participants. Jewish, Alive and American (J,A&A) is an immersion course in Judaism and in the experience of being Jewish in the 21st century. Join an exciting introduction to Jewish holidays, history, traditions, ideas, traditional texts, and contemporary Jewish life experience. For 30 weeks, students will question, challenge, and open up to the complexity of Jewish life in today’s world. This class is open to anyone who wants to engage in a full year-long course of study and experience. J,A&A is for those who are not Jewish and would like to learn more about Judaism or who are considering becoming Jewish, for those who are Jewish and would like to feel more secure in their Jewish knowledge, and for anyone who just wants to know more about Judaism. This class is being taught by Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Rabbi Yael Levy, and Gabriel Kaplan-Mayer. Mishkan Shalom is in Manayunk at 4101 Freeland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA.

Join Beth Israel Congregation in Media, PA on Saturday, November 15, 7:30 pm, as Cantor Emil Skobeloff and his musical group Or Chadash present the premier performance of their award winning CD, "And Sarah Danced" at Beth Israel. The public is warmly invited to attend. “And Sarah Danced” features a wide gamut of American musical styles, set to liturgical texts. Cantor Skobeloff’s music has been reviewed as “thoroughly American in concept, that takes the listener on a walk through fifty-plus years of American popular styles.” The CD has been designated as an “Editor’s Choice” on Tickets for the concert are available by calling the Beth Israel office at (610) 566-4645 or online at Beth Israel is at 542 South New Middletown Road (RT 352 South), Media, PA 19063.

On November 16 from 10 am to noon, Mishkan Shalom welcomes all to attend Part II of a special adult education course "Cleansing Diets Following Fasts" facilitated by Nancy Post, Ph.D., M.Ac. This class will cover how to let fasting springboard into healthier eating.

To register for either of these classes call the Mishkan Shalom office at 215-508-0226, ext. "0".

Tell us about it!

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

Contact Communications Director Lisa Tuttle at today.

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