This call will explore best practices for creating committees and buy-in for effective social justice work in our congregations, including integrated youth and adult education and tikkun programming, as well as service-learning, decision-making and advocacy outside our communities. As well, as part of JRF's ongoing Sustainable Synagogue Initiative, these sessions will focus on Jewish values and successful greening of synagogue life. Special focus on texts and traditions on religious and ecological consciousness and sustainable practices in ritual, programming and policy aspects of Jewish communal life, using alternative energies, and emerging best practices.
Expected Preparation (Written and Audio):
Rabbi Shawn Israel Zevit, www.rabbizevit.com is a congregational consultant and Director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam for the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. He is the Co-Director of the award-winning Davennen Leaders Training Institute and is a spiritual director for many clergy. A recording artist 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 Masculinity), and Money and Jewish values ("Offerings of the Heart: Values-Based Approaches to Money in Faith Community". Rabbi Zevit moved to Cleveland in 2009 to be with his wife Simcha and family, continuing his work for JRF from there.
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-organizing-program?print=1. 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.