As our communities grow and explore a variety of approaches to compliment tradition-based egalitarian Jewish practice, many Reconstructionist communities have begun integrating a variety of Jewish religious practices, continued to reconstruct Shabbat practice, traditonal rituals and liturgy, meditation, mussar study, "Torah" yoga, healing services, chant and other forms of spiritual experience into core offerings. In these sessions, we explore some of these forms, how we make communal decisions around them and see the connection to and inspiration from Reconstructionism and Jewish spiritual life .
Listen to the audio as you view the power point below.
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, www.rabbizevit.com is the Director of Congregational Service, Outreach and Tikkun Olam for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. Rabbi Zevit graduated with a BFA, Theatre Honors, from York University in Toronto (1982), Canada, RRC in 1998, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Spiritual Direction and Liturgical Arts from the New York Theological Seminary. He is the Co-Director of the award-winning Davennen Leaders Training Institute and is a spiritual director for many clergy and on core faculty of the ALEPH Hashpa’ah (Spiritual Direction) Clergy Training Program. A recording artist with 5 CD’s of original music and the Shabbat Unplugged “A Night of Questions” CD, he has also written and developed resources in the areas of Community Building, Leadership, Prayer, Contemporary views of GOD, Jewish Men's issues ("Brother Keepers: New Essays in Jewish Masculinities, 2010, http://www.mensstudies.com), and Money and Jewish values ("Offerings of the Heart: Values-Based Approaches to Money in Faith Community", Alban, 2005). Rabbi Zevit moved from Philadelphia to Cleveland in 2009 to be with his wife Simcha and family, continuing his work for JRF from there.
Rabbi Richard Hirsh is the Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and teaches future rabbis at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He was the editor of the journal The Reconstructionist from 1996-2006. He has previously served congregations in Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Toronto, was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis and Jewish Chaplaincy Service (1988-1993) and was on the staff of the Philadelphia Jewish Community Relations Council (1987-1988).
Rabbi Hirsh received his BA in Jewish Studies from Hofstra University (1975), his MA in religion with a specialization in the New Testament from Temple University (1981), and was graduated as a rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1981). Rabbi Hirsh was the chair of the “Reconstructionist Commission on the Role of the Rabbi” and the author of its report, The Rabbi-Congregation Relationship: A Vision for the 21st Century. His commentaries are featured in A Night of Questions, the Reconstructionist Haggadah and the Reconstructionist High Holiday prayerbook.
He is also the author of the books The Journey of Mourning and Welcoming Children in the Reconstructionist Guide to Jewish Practice series. His articles have appeared regularly in the magazines The Reconstructionist and Reconstructionism Today, as well as in many other Jewish and general publications. For over a dozen years he has contributed commentary on the weekly Torah portion for the Jewish Exponent and the New Jersey Jewish News.
Rabbi Rachel, is soon to be the new chaplain at Georgetown University. Rabbi Rachel is an author, educator, spiritual director and chaplin, who has many years of experience in the rabbinate.
Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2002, with awards in Practical Rabbinics and Spiritually Motivated Social Action, Rabbi Rachel has served a range of Jewish populations from the elderly to the very young: She co-authored the nationally acclaimed “Rosh Hodesh: It's A Girl Thing - Sourcebook for Leaders”, the signature project of Moving Traditions. Through this program, 6,000 adolescent Jewish girls from across denominations have experienced how Jewish teachings can enable them to make more positive choices in a culture steeped in pressures related to school, relationships, body image, sexuality, drugs and alcohol. Rabbi Rachel has worked with other populations as well. She was a student chaplain at a life care center for Jewish elderly in Philadelphia for many years ,where she produced a theatrical piece with holocaust survivors about their lives; she served as a rabbinic intern at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah which serves the gay and lesbian NY Jewish community, and she is a fellow in the prestigious Marshall T. Meyer Fellowship of Congergation Bnai Jeshurun of New York City. She was a pulpit rabbi in Montclair, New Jersey for three years before turning her sites on campus work.