This session provides a forum to discuss social justice organizing in faith community, including developing policies and procedures for dealing with advocacy issues in your own congregation. Many Reconstructionist clergy and lay leaders have led the way in their communities to start and grow "CBCO" networks, transforming their own congregations in the process. We will also discuss drawing others to your community who are already drawn to this work, leveraging the larger community of organizations and professional organizers to amplify your potential for success, the benefits of working in diversity, and thinking about your own internal leadership development so as to effectively pursue this work.
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.