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Chesapeake Day of Learning and Celebration

Sunday, March 19, 2017
Oseh Shalom, Laurel, Maryland

Please join us for a day of learning at 2:30 p.m., followed by the annual celebration and a buffet dinner. Attend one or both programs.

     2:30 p.m. Day of Learning
     4 p.m. Shared Social Hour: Day of Learning and Annual Celebration
     5 p.m. Annual Celebration Program followed by buffet dinner

Please note: all journal content is due by March 3, and the registration deadline is March 9.

Chesapeake Day of Learning

The Chesapeake Day of Learning and Celebration will begin with a program of Learning at 2:30 p.m. beginning with a keynote followed by two breakout sessions geared towards providing resources to our communities in our changing times.

Rabbi Maurice HarrisA Keynote address by Rabbi Maurice Harris

“Sacred Arguing and Sacred Boundaries” 
Are there limits on what a community ought to permit in its discussion? What’s the difference between inclusion and anarchy and needless discord? When does a community have the right, even duty, to exclude its members from discussion/debate? What do the rabbis say – and how what they say is instructive and cautionary for today’s troubled times?


Breakout sessions will include:

Rabbi Sid SchwarzThe Israel Litmus Test: How Broad are the Boundaries?
Led by Rabbi Sid Schwarz

No issue on the Jewish communal agenda is as divisive as Israel. For some Jews, Israel faces an existential threat and anything less than full support of its policies represents a threat on the future of the Jewish people all over the world. For other Jews, Israel needs be judged in accordance with Jewish values and if that means being critical, so be it. Given the leanings of the Trump Administration, the polarization in the Jewish community is about to become even greater than it has been to date. Is there a way to navigate this dilemma?


Rabbi Sonya StarrUsing Shared Resources to Support Sanctuary in the Washington Area- Discussion
Facilitated by Rabbi Sonya Starr and friends

Through a Jewish values based discussion, this session will discuss how our congregational communities can work together to support Sanctuary in Maryland, DC and Virginia.

Annual Celebration

At this year's annual celebration, we will honor community members who help their congregations and havurot in the eager, willing spirit of Hineni—“Here I am.”

Our 2017 Honorees:

  • Adat Shalom: Hannah Lipman and Phil Zipin
  • Beit Tikvah: Rabbi Larry Pinsker
  • Columbia Jewish Congregation: Sheldon Gnatt and David Glaser
  • Kol Ami: Ervin Walter
  • Kol HaLev: Rabbi Steve Silvern
  • Mishkan Torah: Marilyn Langfeld
  • Oseh Shalom: Lynne Gaynes-Kaplan and Steve Kaplan
  • The Reconstructionist Havurah at Riderwood honors all of its members

Please join us for a day of learning followed by the annual celebration and a buffet dinner. Attend one or both programs.

Register now


About the Scholars

Rabbi Maurice Harris

Ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2003, Rabbi Maurice Harris served as Associate Rabbi and Head of School at Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon, from 2003 – 2011. He has also worked as a Judaic studies faculty member at the University of Oregon, teaching courses such as “Israelis and Palestinians” and “American Jewish Cultures.” Just prior to joining the staff at RRC, Maurice worked as the Rabbi/Senior Educator at InterfaithFamily, a Boston-based national Jewish non-profit that provides resources and advocacy for interfaith families in the Jewish community. He is the author of two books, Moses: A Stranger among Us and Leviticus: You Have No Idea (Cascade Books, 2012 and 2013), and has a third one on the way.

Maurice is now working as Assistant Director of Affiliate Support at RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities. He is married to Melissa Crabbe, and they have two children, Clarice Harris and Hunter Harris.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz

Rabbi Sid Schwarz is a social entrepreneur, author and teacher. He created and directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders.  He also created and directs the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network which is building the capacity of emerging spiritual communities across the country.

Sid founded and led PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values for 21 years. He is also the founding rabbi of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD where he continues to teach and lead services.  Dr. Schwarz holds a Ph.D. in Jewish history and is the author of two groundbreaking books--Finding a Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue (Jewish Lights, 2000) and Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World (Jewish Lights, 2006). 

Sid was awarded the prestigious Covenant Award for his pioneering work in the field of Jewish education and was named by Newsweek as one of the 50 most influential rabbis in North America. Sid's latest book is Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Future (Jewish Lights, 2013).

Rabbi Sonya Starr

Rabbi Sonya Starr is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, Pennsylvania where she received her Ordination, as well as her MA in Hebrew Letters in 1994.  After serving two pulpits in Connecticut, Rabbi Sonya became the Rabbi of Columbia Jewish Congregation in 2000. Her student pulpits included the Jewish Congregation of Fairbanks, Alaska and the Hebrew Association of the Deaf in Philadelphia.

She is passionate about Jewish study believing that learning informs our actions and the meaningfulness of our lives. She focuses on a mix of spiritual practice and community activism guided by Jewish values, especially tikkun olam. Rabbi Starr sees community work as providing a context for "thinking globally and acting locally."

Rabbi Starr lives in Columbia with her family and enjoys working closely with CJC members and the larger community. She says, "I am proud to be a part of a dynamic, intergenerational congregation that values inclusiveness and celebrates our differences."


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