Affiliated congregations and havurot can draw on the expertise of the Reconstructionist movement, whether through staff of Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, or networks of our congregational leaders. We can advise on everything from curriculum development to organizational issues such as leadership training, marketing, and growth. Congregational leaders should contact Director of Affiliate Support Tresa Grauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.576.0800, ext. 144 to discuss their questions.
The plenum of the Reconstructionist movement embodies the democratic ideals we share for Judaism. This group of representatives from each affiliated congregation and havurah discusses pressing issues—both those internal to the movement and those that grow out of our relationship to the world. Plenum members share perspectives on conversations that take place in their respective communities, covering topics such as how to preserve a sense of connection while a congregation grows. The plenum votes on various matters and has input into the future direction of Reconstructionist Judaism.
Plenum members enjoy ongoing communications using a private email listserv and hold twice-yearly business meetings in a virtual format, such as a web-based meeting or conference call. This democratic body clearly distinguishes the Reconstructionist working process from that of other movements. It will continue to play a pivotal role in the growth and influence of Reconstructionist Judaism. Additional information on the plenum is available at www.jewishrecon.org/plenum.
Aviv Revolving Loan Fund for Growth of the Reconstructionist Movement
The Aviv Revolving Loan Fund supports new initiatives by Reconstructionist affiliates. Aviv means "spring" in Hebrew, and this fund was established through the generosity of anonymous donors to promote growth opportunities by offering fiscal assistance and tangible expertise. Communities affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement at any level—Enter, Engage or Invest—can apply.
Aviv Loans are interest-free, up to $20,000 each, with a three-year term; up to two loans will be disbursed each year. For more information and to apply, please visit www.jewishrecon.org/AvivLoans.
Topical Conversations and Support for Interest Groups
We offer a distance learning series on subjects of interest to Reconstructionist Jews. You can find more information on the Virtual Bet Midrash and sign up for sessions at http://www.jewishrecon.org/virtual-bet-midrash. Topics in the Virtual Bet Midrash range from new Israeli poetry and prayer to creative ritual, Jewish Prayer in a Time of Eco-Crisis, and much more.
We also offer administrative support for four interest groups within the Reconstructionist community:
Presidents (Presidents Forums and a listserv)
Based on the responses we received when we surveyed congregations by geographical location, we are organizing special programs in coordination with affiliated congregations. Recent area events have included a long-weekend learning retreat, a two-day program on New Ideas in Reconstructionist Thought and Practice, two Days of Learning around themes of Reconstructionism and tikkun olam, and a travelling scholar program.
Tikkun Olam and Other Organizational Affiliations in the Wider Community
RRC and the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities represent the movement in tikkun olam efforts and in other broad-based community coalitions. Our Tikkun Olam Commission—which includes rabbis and lay representatives from our affiliates—has selected the wealth gap as our current focus. We will add a strong Jewish voice to efforts to reverse the widening discrepancy between rich and poor in North America.
Having a movement-wide focus allows us to make a greater impact in an area that we hold as a high priority. You can read more about the Tikkun Olam Commission and the wealth gap focus on our website
We continue to maintain other tikkun olam alliances, and the Commission evaluates new possibilities on an ongoing basis. Currently we are partners with the following groups:
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL): www.coejl.org
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence: www.faithsagainstgunviolence.org
Green Hevra: jewcology.org
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA): www.jewishpublicaffairs.org
Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict: http://9adar.org
Jewish Social Justice Roundtable: www.jewishsocialjustice.org
Mazon: Jewish Response to Hunger: www.mazon.org
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: www.rcrc.org