As part of JRF's ongoing Sustainable Synagogue Initiative, this call is a follow up to the very successful synagogue greening calls of the last two years, which had over 60 participants from 40 JRF congregations. This call will feature some of JRF's leading communities and their work in creating financially, socially, environmentally and spiritually sustainable Jewish communities as a way of growing in individual and home life as well as community and the planet at large. This year's call will focus on individuals and communities who are taking a spiritually-centered approach to their environmental practices within and outside the walls of congregational life.
To prepare for the call please see previous Omer sessions on Sustainability at:
For Sustainable Synagogue Initiative Resources see:
The audio recording of this call can be accessed here: http://jrf.org/node/2610
Rabbi Fred Dobb is the rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda MD. Past-President of the Washington Board of Rabbis and the Reconstructionist representative to the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life board, Rabbi Dobb is a long-time Jewish-environmental educator and activist.
Dr. Mirele Goldsmith is the founder of Green Strides Consulting, applying practical psychology to help organizations create their own green strategy. She is a member of the boards of Hazon and the American Friends of the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership. Mirele attended the UN Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen.
Seth Goldman, a member of JRF congregation Adat Shalom, MD, is President and TeaEO of Honest Tea, www.honesttea.com, the company he co-founded out of his home in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. Honest Tea is the nation’s best-selling organic bottled tea company. In 2008 The Coca-Cola Company purchased a minority interest in Honest Tea, fueling further growth as Honest became the first organic and Fair Trade brand to move into the world’s largest beverage distribution system. Recently, Honest Tea was included on The Better World Shopping Guide's list of "ten best companies on the planet based on their overall social and environmental record." He serves on the boards of Bethesda Green, www.bethesdagreen.org, The Calvert Foundation, www.calvertfoundation.org, and Happy Baby, www.happybabyfood.com. He serves on the Advisory Board of Net Impact, www.netimpact.org, and earlier this year received the Net Impact Member Achievement Award.
Jewish Spiritual Direction or Hashpa'ah is a process for exploring our connection with what we experience as God, Spirit, Truth- however we express and understand the Sacred in our lives. Through these explorations, those engaged in spiritual direction, try to discern the presence of the Sacred, in their everyday lives, work, celebrations, and struggles. Since 1998, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has offered this form of spiritual support to rabbinical students, independent Jewish spiritual direction training programs have developed around the United States, and some Reconstructionist communities have begun offering group spiritual direction for their members through trained clergy or spiritual directors. This call will explore the historic and current evolution of Jewish spiritual direction, some of the key elements of the experience, and how this sacred practice can help individuals and communities deepen their connections to God, self, community and the world.
You can listen to the audio recording of this call by clicking here: http://jrf.org/node/2599
Barbara Breitman, D.Min., LCSW, ( http://www.jewishspiritualdirection.com/) is a pioneer in the field of Jewish Spiritual Direction. She is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College where she also helped to create the program in spiritual direction. She is a co-founder of Lev Shomea, a two-year training program in spiritual direction at Isabella Freedman/Elat Chayyim: the Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center. An experienced psychotherapist with a private practice in Philadelphia, Barbara has a special interest in trauma and spirituality.
Sandra B. Cohen, DSW, LCSW, (http://www.aleph.org/hashpaah.htm) has a private psycho-spiritual clinical and relationship coaching practice. “Reb Sarah” is a Spiritual Director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and for the ALEPH Ordination Programs as well as core faculty for the HASHPA’AH Ordination Program. She privately provides individual and interfaith group spiritual direction and mentors individuals and clergy called to this ministry. She trained in Group Spiritual Direction at The Shalem Institute and received smicha from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi as Mashpi’ah Ruchanit, Maggidah, and “Reb Sarah.” She is available for private Supervision for Spiritual Directors.
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, (http://www.alban.org/rabbizevit/direction.asp) 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, having bee a spiritual director at RRC from 1999-2008 and on the core faculty of the ALEPH Hashpa'ah program. 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), co-editor of "Brother Keepers: New Essays in Jewish Masculinities" (Men's Studies Press, 2010) and the Recon Press publications on "Money and Jewish Values" and "Manual for Effective Boards and Committees".
Rabbi Nancy Epstein serves as Director of Congregational Relations for JRF, as associate teaching professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, and as a spiritual director at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She has been a participant in the most recent cohort of Lev Shomea, a training program for Jewish spiritual directors.
Herb Tobin will focus his session on fundraising and build on the more basic fundraising PEARL session he offered last year. In this session, he will provide more advanced ideas about the realities of congregational fundraising. His presentation will also focus on the larger contextual challenges of congregational fundraising in this challenging economic climate.
Listen to the audio recording of this call by clicking here: http://jrf.org/node/2584
Herb Tobin is principal of Herb Tobin Consulting, a Boston-based firm dedicated to helping non-profit organizations reach their potential capacity and maximize their financial resource base. He serves as a development consultant to the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, the Grinspoon Foundation, and Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life where he was the architect of a successful $200 million comprehensive campaign addressing capital, endowment and current-use funds on a local, regional and national basis. He also consults with start-up philanthropic organizations, as well as those undertaking significantly new projects. He is a Reconstructionist rabbi by training.
Rabbi David Teutsch will focus his session on values-based budgeting and how congregations can make good financial decisions even when choices are challenging. Many JRF congregations currently face painful challenges about where and how to allocate limited funds. How does a board go through decision-making processes to make necessary budget adjustments or cuts during tough times? He will also address the importance of linking budget processes with a congregation’s mission, objectives and values. To listen to the call, click here: http://jrf.org/node/2581
Rabbi David Teutsch is the Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization and Director of the Levin-Lieber Program in Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as president for nearly a decade. He previously served as executive director of the JRF. He is the author of many books and articles, including Making A Difference: A Guide to Jewish Leadership and Not-for-Profit Management (2009) and five volumes of the series A Guide to Jewish Practice. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the groundbreaking Kol Haneshamah prayer book series published by JRF’s Reconstructionist Press. He is renowned for his consulting and training in not-for-profit management, including values-based decision making.
"In Reconstructionist circles, making our communities inclusive is one of our chief goals. We are acutely aware of the barriers that people encounter when they contemplate belonging to the Jewish community.. the Reconstructionist commitment to inclusivity is not only based on a desire to be warm and welcoming. It is deeply rooted in a commitment to democratic values and an understanding of the evolving nature of Jewish civilization." Exploring Judaism (200), Staub and Alpert, p. 118-9. http://jrf.org/resolutions
Our Passover tradition teaches us that a mixed multitude went up together with the Israelites out of Egypt and that we are to open our doors to the stranger and needy especially as we contemplate our own freedom. This call will look at how we can grow our communities in terms of inclusion in multiple area of Jewish life (e.g. Intermarried, GLBT, physical needs).
Listen to the audio portion of this call at http://jrf.org/node/2591
Packet material is attached below.
Rabbi Jacob Staub is Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Spirituality at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is former editor of the Reconstructionist magazine and co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach, and helped start the spiritual direction program at the Reconstrcutionist Rabbinical College in 1998.
Dr. Shelley Kapnek Rosenberg is a founding member and past president of Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA. With a doctorate in Psychoeducational Processes, she worked for many years in Jewish education, especially in the area of special needs. As a former member of the JRF Board, she was instrumental in helping with work on welcoming people with disabilities. She is retired and currently serves as a member of the governng council of the YES! Coalition, an interfaith group of congregations in the Greater Philadelphia area that are welcoming to the LGBTQ community.
Rhonda Shapiro-Rieser is a member of the JRF congregation, Jewish Community of Amherst, a former special education teacher. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and holds a D.Min in Jewish Spiritual Direction. She has a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Antioch University and is a student in the Aleph Smicha Program.
Jody Rosenbloom,MA is the Director of Life Long Learning at the Jewish Community of Amherst. She has been a member of RENA since its inception. She views her 25 years in Jewish education, through the lens of community and leadership development. Her formal education includes an BA in Urban Planning from Antioch College and an MA in Leadership from Augsburg College. She was an active member of CAJE and sat on the CAJE 25 Mazkirut. Most recently, she was a participant in the Institute for Jewish Spirituality sole educator cohort in 2004-2006.