Do you wonder how many different types of prayer services your congregation can effectively offer given your particular rabbinic and/or lay leadership, the physical space in which your community holds services, or the number of people who attend any or all of your services? Does your congregation struggle to balance the needs of “regular davenners” and “b’nai mitzvah guests?” Is there a Shabbat school that you try to integrate into the main congregational Shabbat service? Are there ongoing efforts to offer family services, children's services or a "junior congregation?"
Most congregations face the challenge of members with varied communal prayer service priorities. This class will explore several models that JRF congregations have adopted to balance different communal prayer needs and interests. We will delineate the challenges each service structure addresses and the values they reflect. Participants will be able to explore how different prayer service configurations might respond to challenges their congregation seeks to address.
You can download the audio recording of this call here: http://jrf.org/node/2765
Rabbi Erin Hirsh is the JRF Director of Education. A 2000 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Erin spent over a decade directing two Reconstructionist congregational schools (first the Shul School of Kehilat Hanar, in New Hope, PA, and then the Congregational School of Mishkan Shalom, in Philadelphia, PA.) For the last three years, Rabbi Erin has served as a consultant to Reconstructionist congregations wrestling with all aspects of educational programming and programming involving children.
Rabbi Jodie Siff directs the synagogue school at the Reconstructionist Congregation of the North Shore and is active in every part of the community. Rabbi Jodie leads the Rosh Hodesh groups for women and one for girls post Bat Mitzva. Her work with the synagogue’s children begins in our nursery school and includes many intergenerational programs. Rabbi Jodie is a mentor in the Leadership Institute of Congregational Educators and is an active member of the Port Washington/Manhasset Clergy Association. An alumna of Lehigh University, Jodie began her Hebrew studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary and graduated from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2001. Jodie and her husband Peter are the proud parents of four children.
Kim Bodemer, a graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology, is a member of Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro, MA., and the former Education Director. While in that role, Kim helped to create spiritual and educational experiences for the entire community in the context of Shabbat morning and holiday observance.
Steve Lewin, the Vice President of Worship and Adult Education at Shir Hadash in Northbrook, Illinois. He has been a member of Shir Hadash since its inception in 1995. Has served on the Worship & Ritual Committee for that entire period participating in the development of Shir Hadash's creative approach to services for Shabbat, High Holiday, Festivals and special occasions. This includes developing and leading the Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program and creating "Read-along" services for Shabbat Evening and the Passover Seder. Steve is a technically-oriented management consultant who utilizes this background to support his congregation's unique approach to services.
Lynne Whitman is the Religious School chair at Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit, New Jersey, and a member of the Board of Directors. Professionally, Lynne is a management consultant, focusing on business strategy, operations and marketing strategy and effectiveness.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis is the rabbi of University Synagogue in Irvine, California. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University's Graduate Department of Religion and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Rachlis has served as Chair of Mazon, A Jewish Response To Hunger, and a Past President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. He has served as a board member of the National B'nai Brith Hillel Commission and the New Israel Fund and as President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis.