This 4' x 6' banner is made up of over 150 felt tracings from the many children and adults who have joined in Mishkan Ha'am's services and celebrations since the shul's founding.
Ten years ago, Yonkers, New York, residents Joey Parnes and Ellen Tattelman ran a notice in local newspapers inviting area residents who were “looking for a synagogue and haven’t found the right fit” to meet. “We were looking to create a Reconstructionist group that would be egalitarian, participatory, and open to varying viewpoints,” says Parnes. “Joyously, we found others who were looking for the same thing!” read more »
Today, Mishkan Ha’am, with members from Riverdale through Westchester’s Rivertowns, has grown to include regular Shabbat services for all ages, holiday and life cycle celebrations, a Hebrew School, adult education program, social action activities, and innovative programming such as meditation and chanting-centered Shabbat observances and Shabbat morning yoga sessions. In all these contexts, participants engage in connecting Jewish tradition with their contemporary lives.
Last week Muslim scholars from the Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations issued an open letter to the Jewish Community calling for dialogue and understanding.
In response the leadership of the Reconstructionist, Reform, and Conservative Jewish Movements in North America made the following statement: read more »
We deeply appreciate the hand extended in a letter from Muslim scholars at The Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations, and we clasp that hand willingly. That we have much to learn from and about each other is clear – sometimes painfully clear. We look forward to the shared work of thoughtful dialogue.
Have you been looking for some excellent models for fundraising events Reconstructionist-style. Here are some ideas:
There is exciting activity happening on the reauthorization of the PEPFAR AIDS legislation. (PEPFAR = President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).
The PEPFAR legislation will be "marked-up" in the House foreign affairs committee on Wednesday, February 27th at 9:30 am (and may be televised on C-SPAN).
There are two important action items:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 7:30 p.m.
Germantown Jewish Centre
400 West Ellet Street, Philadelphia, PA
Please join the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Germantown Jewish Centre for a special interfaith event, moderated by Hal Taussig, Ph.D.
Susannah Heschel, Ph.D., holds the Eli Black Chair in Jewish studies in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. She writes extensively on feminism and Judaism and is the editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist, first published in 1983. With a grant from the Ford Foundation, Heschel recently convened a series of four international conferences of scholars in the fields of Jewish studies and Islamic studies. read more »
Amina Wadud, Ph.D., is associate professor of Islamic studies at the School of World Studies of Virginia Commonwealth University. Her academic work concentrates on Islam, gender and Qur'anic studies. Wadud's books include the groundbreaking Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective. In 2005, Wadud went on record as the first woman to lead a public, mixed-gender Muslim Friday prayer service, in New York City.
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. read more »
Here are some helpful links to support your Israel 60 / Shabbat Israel event planning:
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:
[Watch Erin's charge to the education directors.]
They came from nine congregations ranging from Mechanicsburg, PA to Newark DE to Princeton, NJ. The topic was “Educating Reconstructionistly.” The keynote speaker was Rabbi Jacob Staub, author of Exploring Judaism. read more »
He spoke about the Reconstructionist concept that tradition has a vote and not a veto. Teachers and education directors then broke into a series of workshops to explore their own engagement with tradition and how they can and do transmit it to our students.
(L-R, rear) Barry Brian (Or Hadash), Elaine Moise (Kedem), Cantor Rachel Epstein (Adat Shalom), Doris Dyen (RRC, Dor Hadash), Rabbi Shawn Zevit (JRF), (L-R, Front) Barbara Nordstrom-Loeb (Mayim Rabim), Lauren Resnick (Dor Hadash) read more »
Music is flowing in the Reconstructionist movement! Voices raised with kavanah, moving renditions of favorite classics, and brilliant interpretations of liturgy seamlessly intermingle with fresh explorations of the meaning of God, Torah and Israel in their broadest sense.
An engrossing, wrenching and tender documentary film, Praying with Lior, is debuting around the world and receiving rave reviews and was the highest grossing independent film its first weekend in New York.
The film tells the story of Lior Liebling, a member of congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, whom his community calls "the little rebbe." Lior has Down syndrome, and has spent his life praying with utter abandon. As Lior approaches bar mitzvah, the movie poses difficult questions such as What is disability? And who really talks to God?
Read the New York Times story about the film and
an interview with director Ilana Trachtman on the NY Jewish Film Festival blog.
Please join congregation Kol HaLev and more than 20 congregations and organizations throughout the Cleveland, OH area for a special community-wide event: “Sounds of Justice” Havdalah Concert and Advocacy Event for Darfur, featuring JRF's director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam, Rabbi Shawn Zevit.
Saturday, February 9th at 7:30 pm, B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, 27501 Fairmount Blvd., Pepper Pike, Cleveland, OH.
THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE COMMUNITY read more »
We are proud and 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.
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.
At the beginning of each volume of Kaplan's diary (of which there are 27) Kaplan recorded quotations from books he had been reading and which he especially liked. He once wrote in the diary that people should be known by what they quote.
In the following quotation we see Kaplan quoting from Buber’s collection of Hasidic tales. Buber and Kaplan were very different but Kaplan did appreciate much in Buber’s philosophy and the Hasidic tales were certainly part of the legacy of Buber which Kaplan wanted to pass on. read more »
A rabbi once told the following tale:
Rabbi Brant Rosen, spiritual leader of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL was recently on a Brit Tzedek v'Shalom mission to Israel. Upon his return he wrote this letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun Times. (See Rabbi Rosen's blog, Shalom Rav).
For a full set of resources on Israel see http://www.jrf.org/israel
To the editor: read more »
I recently traveled with a Brit Tzedek v’Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace) delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territories. We met with academics, peace activists, and politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayad. Among other things, we learned much about the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, circumstances reflected in the 1/22/08 article, “Tens of thousands of Palestinians flood into Egypt through breached Gaza wall.”