Dear fellow JRF board members:
While it may be hard to believe, Camp JRF’s summer is already coming to a close and it has been quite a success.
Including our Hadraha campers (counselors-in-training entering their senior year of high school), we surpassed 340 camper sessions this summer, 10 more than our target. Our 300+ campers (some came for both sessions) in addition to another 70 or so staff represent about half of our affiliated communities. The 33 teens on the Noar Hadash Israel trip also stayed at camp before and after their travel abroad. Next week we will be hosting another 30 or so families participating in the Family Camp and Tikkun Olam teen-parent week of service programs. Our hope is that all of these individuals will become our marketers and recruiters.
Lest you think that is all who we touched, we also had 18 visiting faculty (13 rabbis, 4 education directors, and 1 cantor), and dozens of other lay, rabbinic, and other professional leaders visit through the summer. Additionally, a number of the staff are Israeli and many of them are returnees, having found a spiritual home for themselves. read more »
This is a brief update as of July 21, 2008 on Convention preparations. There are several fliers and a workshop schedule available. You may see them by either opening up “Critical Docs” on the board Intranet or click on the links in this article.
Program: We have all our opening plenary speakers and three out of four forums are fully organized. We have speakers and presenters committed to 50 out of 55 workshops (in specific time slots), and are adding more speakers and presenters to flesh out those 50 (such as when we are running a panel). We are also in the process of identifying facilitators for each of those workshops. We are working on clarifying content or financial issues on the remaining five workshops and expect to be able to finalize them in the next couple of weeks.
The workshops divide into seven tracks. The tracks are: Congregational Leadership, Congregational Growth & Finance, Arts & Spirituality, Tikkun Olam, Israel, Next Generation (Education) and Beit Midrash: Text Study. There are also a handful of special workshops that do not neatly follow any specific track, such as a response to the election results from just before convention and a workshop on Muslim-Jewish Relations. Shabbat morning and afternoon workshops are in place in addition to all these wonderful offerings. We have scheduled field trips to Jewish sites around Boston and are working on a Tikkun Olam opportunity. read more »
This is a brief update as of June 5, 2008 on Convention preparations. Several documents detailing work plans, programming, marketing and fundraising will be posted and available for viewing. A section called “critical docs” will be created for you to access these documents and you will be notified when that is completed.
Program: The basic schedule has been set for Convention. It includes an opening plenary, four forums and five workshop slots of 10 workshops each. In addition to that there are program Shabbat afternoon and Sunday morning. Featured speakers include Jonathan Sarna, Michael Strassfeld, Hayim Herring, Amy L. Sales, David Teutsch, Joy Levitt and Jonathan Woocher, among others. Please see the program document for more detailed information.
Registration and Website: We are ready to launch registration and the website. Look for them at the end of next week.
Fundraising: The fundraising plan includes sponsorships, ads and scholarship. Marla Friedenberg is spearheading this work. Information about sponsorship opportunities will be available for you in the “Critical Docs” area. You will be updated as sponsors sign-up. So far, the Western Region has committed to a $2,500 sponsorship and Marla is negotiating with a potential corporate sponsor. read more »
I only took pics on Monday, and not everyone was there on Monday. Enjoy, I think it shows, even without sound, the animation and passion of our board.
Don't look for your volume controls -- it's not a talky.
The whole thing is 2 minutes 38 seconds.
Dear fellow JRF Board members:
The camp staff were notified last week that we received our ACA Accreditation! (For the uninitiated, ACA = American Camping Association.) Mazel Tov's are definitely in order. I'd like to single out special kudos for Ben Davis, who worked extremely hard in reviewing the accreditation standards and putting systems in place to make sure we met them. Also, special thanks to Board member Judy Spatz and camp devotee Susan Sofman who, as volunteers these many summers, redoubled their efforts this summer in working closely with Ben to meet the ACA standards. The ACA accreditation logo has been included on this year's brochure, which will be inserted in the upcoming RT.
In other camp news:
Registration was opened with an October 3rd e-mail to families who were represented at camp this past summer. On-line registration is available through our website and the early registration deadline (with $100 discount) is November 15. Please encourage families to apply early so that they don't get closed out!
A Survey Monkey survey was posted last week for camper families from this past summer. Please encourage families who were represented at camp this year to give us their feedback.
Finally, the camp staff have made arrangements with a kosher caterer based in Wiles-Barre/Scranton to provide food service in our kitchen for shoulder/off-season rentals. With that last logistic in place, an anouncement has been circulated, including through this month's MaNishma e-newsletter from JRF, that the Aaron & Marjorie Ziegelman campus is now available for rentals. We are already drafting a contract for our first customer!
The good news keeps on rolling!
Hope you are all well, and I look forward to seeing you at the December board meeting.
Camp JRF Board Chair
JRF Board Member-at-Large
Watch this video to learn how to post to this site.
The server will be down during Rosh Hashana for maintenance. You will not be able to access your JRF email or files during the following dates - Wednesday afternoon September 12th through Saturday, September 15th. We have scheduled this to occur during Rosh Hashanah, so as to inconvenience as little as possible.
You will not lose any email; nor will any outside folks get non-deliverable messages.
Camp JRF Opening Day 2007
“We come from near we come from far. We come by plane or bus or car.”
What a beautiful opening day for Camp JRF. Excited campers with well trained staff all arrived safely to our home in the Pocono Mountains. The Aaron and Marjorie Ziegleman Campus was sparkling and filled with precious jewels, our campers, as the first day of Camp was finally here.
Although the East was hit with a heat wave it didn’t seem to bother our happy, singing campers as we sat for our opening ceremony in our Teatron (side opened theater). Even the thunder storm didn’t keep our campers and staff from singing and dancing in the dining hall for Maariv. And did we enjoy the roast chicken, rice and beans, plantains, and salad bar with pie for dessert.
Our hanihim (campers) were introduced with skits to our whole staff and then got to choose their breirot (choice activities)-Volleyball, art, cartooning, Latin dancing, ropes course, basketball, gardening, softball, mountain biking, camping, song leading with guitar, journalism, drama, ultimate Frisbee.
Making friends for a lifetime, singing and enjoying all these activities, no wonder Camp JRF is such a great place. Today was a Sheheheyanu moment.
If you are interested in my visit to the Capitol with House leaders and then with President Bush at the Executive Office Building, here's my post on the JRF Web site.
I am blown away by the multitude of responses to my query about flags in the sanctuary. THank you so much.
I am a member of a newly-formed Israel Committee at Bnai Keshet, and the issue of displaying the Israeli and US flags in the shul came up. We are interested in learnign the practices of other affiliates. If you do display the flags, where, and if not, is this as a result of a community decision, or not.
Thanks so much,
I was going through my board notes and found the suggested revision of the mission statement that Val and I wrote. Here it is:
The JRF is committed to serving its affiliates and to being a voice for pluralism and progressive Judaism at home and in Israel. ( We might want to broaden this.) We strive to actualize these values through Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) in our communities and the broader world.
We understand Judaism to be the evolving religious civilization of the Jewish people, and accept the responsibility of being active participants in that evolution.
In partnership with the RRC and RRA, we support our members in living authentic and meaningful Jewish lives, supporting the innovations which have been the hallmark of Reconstructionist Judaism since its inception.
Last night, I was moved and honored to attend the second semi-annual gathering at the Washington National Cathederal dedicated to ending hunger and poverty. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians from nearly every denominational stripe gathered for a powerful and awe inspiring evening of song, prayer, inspiration and affirmation to our universal commitment and potential to end hunger wherever it is found. I hasten to add that my personal favorite moment was the inclusion on the program of JRF's own Rabbi Shawn Zevit, who did us proud by chanting a moving and hauntingly beautiful barucha to the packed house. Many other national and local rabbinic Reconstructionist leaders, including Adat Shalom's Rabbis Sid Schwarz and Fred Dobb, were also present to lend passion and support to this important cause.
As it was in 2005, the convocation was sponsored by the Christian anti-hunger group Bread for the World, in conjunction with other national religious-based hunger groups (including Mazon).
Yasher koach to Shawn for his role in an unforgettable evening.
I am excited to begin putting this new JRF Board area to use - so there is no time like the present.
I see WWW4 (that's what I call the new Website) as a great leap forward for the Movement. It is warm, welcoming and easy to use. The speed with which Rabbi Shai has been able to get up our own little, secure Board area is truly miraculous. (Of course, it's not really miraculous...you all know why). The key is for all of us to begin using it - as the value will increase geometrically the more people use it regularly.
I believe that the Internet is going to begin affecting religion - just like it has every other aspect of our lives. Obviously, Rabbis Shai and Shawn have already shown some of the potential with the Omer Study (in its second year). RRC has been experimenting with actual Distance learning courses - and I think we will see more of that. But most importantly, I believe that it will be the Web (and its extensions - IM, text messaging, etc) which has the most potential for connecting with the younger generation.
Thanks again Shai!
And thanks to Bob for all of his hard work, and for the nice post. -- Dan
I'm pleased to announce the launching of JRF Board Only section of the JRF web site. We are hoping this will be a good medium for board members to get information and share opinions.
On the left sidebar you'll see a section titled, "JRF Board of Directors." Under that heading click, "Create Board Post" to add a new article here. At the bottom of any article you'll see that there is the possibility to add a comment. Please join in!
For those of you who have already signed on to the Intranet, I want to express how powerful an experience our meeting was for me and I hope for you. For those who could not attend, we will be providing minutes and follow-up process for the work that we accomplished.
My personal highlight -- and I am sure for many of you -- was the trip to the office, which expressed for me that we now have a makom that captures the energy and spirit of our national movement. The previous site was a place to begin; this is clearly a place to continue our journey. read more »
Attached is the latest list, with contact information, for the JRF board.