How do we make good financial decisions from a Jewish values-based perspective? We will focus this session on how congregations can make good financial decisions in a variety of financial resource and areas, even when choices are challenging. How can congregations be successful in organizing financial resources, dues structures that are in line with the best of its Reconstructionist values. How do we link budget processes with a congregation’s mission, objectives and values. We will also discuss the uses and variety of Jewish values-based approaches to money and other resources in congregational life based on your input of areas of emphasis and sharing best communal practices.
NOTE: To maximize communal learning, congregations are encourage to form a team (including clergy) and sign up for all three sessions designed for your congregational size, see http://jrf.org/pearl/sessions/2012
Expected Preparation (Written and Audio):
Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman is the Director of the Western Region of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, serving the twenty-four congregations and havurot west of the Rockies and Texas.. In her twenty years of experience as a rabbi, she has served Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform and Gay Outreach congregations, and is a consultant on moral education for diverse families for national Jewish institutions, the National Council of Churches and the Metropolitan Community Church. In addition to her rabbinate, she was a professor of Religion and Women's Studies at California State University at Northridge, and lectured at the University of Judaism and Loyola Marymount College.
Rabbi Litman is highly committed to social action and interfaith work. She chaired the board of the Clinica Msgr. Oscar Romero and the Southern California Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights, the East Bay Interfaith Committee for Economic Justice and sits on the executive committee of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. She is a Peace and Justice Commissioner for the City of Berkeley. Widely published in the fields of Jewish women's history and contemporary theology, Rabbi Litman's book, Lifecycles 2: Jewish Women on Scriptural Themes in Contemporary Life, co-edited with Rabbi Debra Orenstein, won several prestigious academic and community awards. Rabbi Litman lives with her spouse, Stewart Schwartz, and their two children, Sophie and Asher in Berkeley, California.
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling leads RRC’s initiative to invest rabbinical students with the clarity of purpose, vision and voice to become uniquely effective, spiritually strong leaders in the drive toward social justice and environmental sustainability, as the first to direct the newly created Social Justice Organizing Program, http://www.rrc.edu/academics/rabbinical-program/social-justice-organizin.... Liebling himself has worked throughout his career toward tikkun olam, repair of the world.
Through his own experience, Liebling came to realize that spiritual leaders hold unique power to demonstrate and inspire ethical choices, and to lead a pursuit of justice fueled by caring rather than rage. Most recently he served as the executive vice president of Jewish Funds for Justice; prior to that organization’s merger with The Shefa Fund, he held the title Torah of Money Director at TSF, providing guidance to help people apply Jewish laws and values to how they spend, invest and donate. For 12 years he was the executive director of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, and he later served there as senior consultant. Before entering the rabbinical program at RRC, he worked as a community organizer.
Liebling was a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations for 12 years. He has served on the boards of various national and international non-profit organizations; currently he serves on the boards of the Faith and Politics Institute and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America. Liebling also is the president emeritus of the Shalom Center.
He has received awards from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and Mazon. Liebling also has spoken out for justice for people with disabilities, and his family was the subject of the award-winning documentary film Praying With Lior. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University and Master of Arts in the history of American civilization, specializing in American progressive movements, from Brandeis University. Liebling is a 1985 graduate of RRC. He has published articles in many publications, including Tikkun, Israel Horizons, Jewish Currents and The Reconstructionist.