The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation is delighted to welcome Temple Israel of Duluth, MN, as its newest member community, and the third Reconstructionist-affiliated congregation in Minnesota. With the spirited leadership of Rabbi Amy Bernstein, the 200-household congregation is excited about joining the Reconstructionist Movement. read more »
Rabbi Shawn Zevit, JRF’s Director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam, who helped facilitate the affiliation process, said, “It is wonderful to welcome Temple Israel into our network of Reconstructionist member communities. We have been in dialogue for a few years together, and there was clearly interest in our approach to Jewish life, in no small part because of the inspirational spirit of Rabbi Amy Bernstein.
On April 27, 2007, Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis of Temple Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California, California, delivered a major speech regarding genocide, the suicide of denial, and our collective responsibilities to transmit memory to our children and our children’s children.
Entitled In Honor of the Martyrs of Armenia, it commemorates the 92nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, speaks to all genocides, whether Armenian, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, or Darfur, and points out the consequences to a society which remains apathetic in the face of murder. read more »
Sitting in a large conference room, I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. This was an opportunity too good to pass. It was my 16-year-old daughter, undoubtedly calling for a ride home from a sleepover.
“I can’t talk,” I said quietly into the phone. “I’m waiting for the President to come in.” As in George W. Bush. read more »
It was mid-afternoon on Thursday, June 14 this past week and I was making small talk in a large conference room in the Executive Office Building with 47 other presidents of major Jewish organizations. We were on a daylong discussion-a-thon with the leaders of the House, culminating with a briefing with the president. The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations had been invited to present our views and hear our leaders' thoughts on foreign policy issues, primarily relating to the Middle East.
In 2007 our focus was on Sustainability (balancing environmental, social, economic and spiritual life in our congregations and larger communities). See the text packet atached to this post.
Rabbis, Hazzanim (cantors), Educators and members of JRF congregations commented on classic Jewish texts in the light of the sustainability work being done in their congregations.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, at a meeting of its national board June 2-4, enthusiastically welcomed news of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)'s decision on June 4 to include JRF as a partner organization, making the Reconstructionist organization the first national agency to be added to the JCPA in decades. The JRF represents more than 100 Reconstructionist congregations and havurot across the United States and Canada.
Here's an MS Word version of Ma Nishma: News from the JRF for July '07.
In This Issue:
JCPA Welcomes JRF
Synagogue Greening Initiative
Camp JRF Needs Administrator
Help a Child Go to Camp
Omer Initiative a Great Success
Camp JRF Needs Siddurim
RT Seeks Artists
June Walker Assumes Leadership
Action in Darfur
Hunger Rally Held June 11
The problem of Judaism would not be so acute if the traditional doctrine of revelation were merely obsolete. The trouble is that to cherish that doctrine is as unethical as being guilty of bigamy. To believe that we are in possession of the authentically revealed will of God is incompatible with religious tolerance to say nothing of religious equality. read more »
[Kaplan biographer Mel Scult writes: Kaplan was truly a revolutionary and I would like to maintain that we have not yet begun to understand the radical nature of his theological commitments. The central event of Sinai which we celebrate on Shavuot is not reinterpreted here or put into language that is more acceptable to us. It is rather dismissed as unethical because it assumes the existence of some eternal truth, a doctrine that Kaplan dismisses. Many moderns are in the same situation but they refuse to face it squarely and to see our situation for what it is.
“It is difficult to convey the emotions that overcome us when inserting the large brass key into the lock plate of the front door and turning it twice to the right. We feel the large mahogany doors swing open slowly, allowing us to pass from the tumult of everyday life into peaceful twilight of the sanctuary… Although the building has gone through several major changes in its 275- year history, this feeling must have overcome our forefathers when they entered the building for its dedication…" From the pamphlet created honor of the 275th anniversary.
It's a fun, funny and insightful story.
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Go Rachel. You are awesome!
On May 17, 2007, representatives from eight JRF congregations, national and regional JRF staff, and representatives from the Jewish Funds for Justice gathered via conference call to discuss their ongoing community organizing efforts.
To learn more about community organizing and ways in which JRF can assist your congregation's tikkun olam activities, please contact Rabbi Shawn Zevit at JRF, 215-782-8500, ex.24, and see our Step-by-Step Guide to community organizing.
Is it not enough for you to graze on choice grazing ground, but you must also trample with your feet what is left from your grazing? And is it not enough for you to drink clear water, but you must also muddy with your feet what is left? – Ezekiel 34:18 read more »
These words prophesied by Ezekiel are spoken on behalf of God to the people Israel. Israel is likened to a flock of sheep or cattle that has abused the natural resources that God has provided. Just as Israel has acted as habituated animals who themselves are out of sync with their own natural order and have trampled the earth and muddied the water, so too are we, today, leaving behind a dirty footprint in the environment.
On Sunday April 29th, the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit (RCD) celebrated the dedication of their new sanctuary in the City of Detroit. RCD, which was incorporated in the year 2000, moved recently to the new location when their former home at Christ Church Detroit began an extensive restoration project. read more »
U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who is a founding member with his wife Barbara, provided the keynote address at the dedication ceremony and stressed the importance of family life at RCD, one of two synagogues located within the City of Detroit today. Senator Levin also mentioned specifically RCD's providing yearly services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—thus guaranteeing that High Holiday services are offered in Detroit in an unbroken line of continuity since 1851.
Camp JRF is looking for a few more staff members. If you know energetic, creative, talented, upbeat, responsible, and excited college students (or high school graduates), we would love to talk with them about spending the summer of a lifetime at Camp JRF. Download a staff application packet.
We are currently looking to fill the following positions: read more »
Counselors 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, counselors serve as role models for the campers in how to lead a healthy, Reconstructionist life.
Green Views. Join me at 37,000 feet. You take the window seat (but sitting next to a rabbi, expect some Judaic commentary on the scenery). Land-use issues are clearest from up here. If you’ve gotta contribute all that carbon through flying, you might as well enjoy the free and educational “movie ” unfolding below. Surrounding what little is left of what we’ve been given, we see out the cabin window what we as a society have chosen. We see the land, patterned after our own likeness.
Blessed are you, THE PROVIDENT, our God, life of all the worlds, who gives the bird of dawn discernment to tell day from night.
The second blessing of Birchot HaShachar, the Morning Blessings, in Kol Haneshamah reads, Baruch atah adonay eloheynu chey ha'olamim hanoten lasechvi vinah lehavchin beyn yom uveyn laylah. It is translated, “Blessed are you, THE PROVIDENT, our God, life of all the worlds, who gives the bird of dawn discernment to tell day from night.” read more »
In other Siddurim (prayer books) this blessing is often the first blessing, but that is not our concern for the sake of this discussion, nor is the Reconstructionist use of the gender-neutral opening of the blessing. What I wish to focus on here is how the ending of the blessing is translated.