While we understandably focus on the technical aspects of running and growing our communities (especially in difficult times), there are core spiritual, cultural, ethical and identity issues that bring us together as religious communities. This call will explore some of the key elements that are crucial to keeping our selves grounded in core religious values, spiritual values, and social justice principles as we grow our faith communities. Topics will include ritual life, prayer, Jewish values-based decision making as spiritual practice, spiritual direction, tikkun olam and more.
Please prepare for the class by reading Exploring Reconstructionism: A Leadership Workshop and listen to GOD - Through A Reconstructionist Lens; Social Action (Tikkun Olam)
The audio recording of this session can be found here: http://jrf.org/node/2607
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, (www.rabbizevit.com) is the Director of Outreach & Tikkun Olam, and a congregational consultant and resource developer for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is a founding member of Shabbat Unplugged and the Davenning Leaders’ Training Institute, and a spiritual director for numerous clergy and communities. He has written and developed resources and delivered workshops in the areas of community building, leadership, prayer, interactive midrash, contemporary views of GOD, prayer and spiritual leadership skills, money and Jewish values, social justice issues, Jewish environmental concerns and Jewish men's issues. He is the author of "Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community (Alban, 2005) and a forthcoming book for Jewish Men.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the Rabbi-in-Residence of Jewish Funds For Justice and the author of There Shall be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition. She writes and speaks frequently about Judaism and social justice, with an emphasis on issues such as poverty, labor relations, housing issues, criminal justice, and environmental sustainability. Rabbi Jacobs was named to the Forward Newspaper's annual list of fifty influential American Jews in 2006 and 2008 and to Newsweek's list of the fifty most influential rabbis in 2009. She received rabbinic ordination and an MA in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary; an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College, CUNY; and a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Guy Austrian.
Deane Root is the current president of Congregation Dor Hadash in Pittsburgh, the largest and oldest JRF affiliate that is primarily lay-led. His wife, Doris Dyen, is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinnical College. As a musicologist and librarian at the University of Pittsburgh he has taught, conducted research and published widely on the meaning of music in the lives of Americans. His spiritual journey to Judaism has involved participating with diverse groups through Dor Hadash including the school, a spiritually centered Havurah, Harmoniah singing, and a Torah study minyan, as well as the New Community Chevre Kadisha.
Carole Caplan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is proud to be a past president of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL, and to have helped build their new building as the "greenest" shul in America. She is currently a Greenfaith Fellow, participating in a unique multi-faith endeavor which teaches stewardship of the environment as imperative spiritual work (see Greenfaith.org). Carole's company, Live by Choice, assists clients in making empowered choices for sustainable environments including low- toxic "green" building products, water filters, air filters and cleaning products. A certified meditation and yoga instructor, Carole teaches to both children and adults in the Chicagoland area.