Over the past year the Rabbinical Assembly has continued to expand and improve the services we provide. Our recent work has included:
- Conveying Conservative Jewish interests to top US and Israeli leaders
- Providing member support and services
- Networking with other faith and nonprofit organizations
- Increasing our roster of programs promoting professional growth and development.
Take a look at the RA’s year in review information below to get a sense of what we’ve been up to and learn how you can use RA resources.
Rabbinical Assembly 2013 Year in Review
- Julie Schonfeld, Alvin Berkun, Jeff Wohlberg, Joel Meyers, and Noam Marans met with Pope Francis
- 29 New Rabbis welcomed into the Rabbinical Assembly
- Convention 2013, Jerusalem, Israel
- Reception at the home of President Shimon Peres
- Knesset Day including meetings with Yuli Edelstein, Naftali Bennett, and 8 other MKs
- Maslulim included options to visit to base of Shaked battalion of Givati Brigade, lunch on Army Base, visit to Sderot Reservoir water reclamation Project and Be'er Sheva River Park, Haredi employment center, and a visit to Google Headquarters in Tel Aviv
- Julie Schonfeld and White House Faith Based leaders presented recommendations to White House on Ending Modern Slavery (Read the Recommendations | Read the Executive Summary)
- Task force launched to end modern day slavery. Lee Paskind and Chuck Feinberg, members of the task force, spearheaded the creation of resource materials for rabbis.
- Rabbinic Management Institute: A year of learning and case study comprised of on-site seminars, mentorship and distance learning, rabbis engage in deep, applied, educational and professional development in the following areas:
- Nonprofit Management and Leadership
- Fund Development
- Accounting and Budgeting
- Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation
- Julie Schonfeld participated in Jewish leadership meeting with former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror
- RA Condemns Senate’s Failure to Pass Stricter Background Checks Legislation (statement)
- Elliot Schoenberg and Bill Lebeau represented RA at Jewish Welfare Board (ongoing)
- RA Celebrates Supreme Court’s Ruling on Gay Marriage (statement)
- RA Shocked and Saddened by Clashes at Western Wall (statement)
- Beit Midrash in the Hills
- RA Saddened by Death of Senator Lautenberg (statement)
- RA Congratulates Susan Rice on her Appointment to National Security Advisor (statement)
- RA Praises Religious Affairs Ministry, Calls for Immediate Implementation of Local Religious Leadership by Israeli Communities (statement)
- Virtual Resolutions Process introduced (Text of approved resolutions)
- Julie Schonfeld, Steve Wernick, and Yizhar Hess met with Prime Minister Netanyahu; conversation focused on three main topics:
- Developments in the negotiations with Iran,
- Negotiations regarding Azarat Yisrael at the Kotel,
- Equal funding for the streams.
- Release of First Fruits: Erev Shabbat, preliminary version of Siddur Lev Shalem
- The Observant Life, Parashat Hashavua Study Guides
- CJ Journal Digitized
- 60 years of content—over 2,000 articles—are now fully digitized and searchable in Hebrew and English.
- Available free to RA members
- Zacharias Frankel Rabbinical College opened in Berlin
- Ziegler School opens rabbinic training program for European rabbis
- Monitored Challenges to Parsonage
- The RA and our counsel continue to monitor the cases brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation seeking to declare parsonage unconstitutional. Currently the parsonage exemption remains in effect.
- Launch of Hineinu: Building Jewish Community for People of All Abilities (an interdenominational coalition)
- RA Community Organizing Training for Rabbis with JOIN
- Following a year of collaboration and partnership with JOIN trained rabbis, the RA brought together 42 rabbis of all career stages and areas of the rabbinate for an intensive community organizing training.
- Commission on a Vital Connected Rabbinate
- Developed goals including:
- Train colleagues for peer to peer mentorship
- Re-envision RA’s offerings in continuing rabbinic education including support and development of our own members in their teaching
- Focus on the integration of rabbis’ first few years post ordination
- Revitalize Regions
- Partner with JTS’ Center for Pastoral Education to create processing groups: confidential groups for rabbis to process pastoral issues, and the ways they reverberate with the rabbi halakhically, emotionally and spiritually.
- Kol Isha: Leaning In, Leaning Out, Learning from Each Other
- Discussion of ways to support ourselves and each other
- "Reb Talks" by colleagues representing different generations and rabbinic paths.
- Learning with esteemed professors
- Breakout sessions on a variety of practical topics
- Rav Hamakhshir training for 20 rabbis
- Provided text study and exploration of the theoretical constructs of kashrut. Participants learned how to supervise synagogue kitchens, communal events, bakeries and various kinds of restaurants.
- Public appearances by Julie Schonfeld: The Pew Report, The Chief Rabbinate, and Mentoring
- Dr. Steve Bayme of the American Jewish Committee moderated a panel on the Israeli Chief rabbinate shared by Julie and Asher Lopatin of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah at Sutton Place Synagogue
- Julie spoke about the meaning of the recent Pew Foundation report on American Judaism with Dr. Steven M. Cohen and Ammiel Hirsch of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, moderated by Gary Rosenblatt of the Jewish Week
- Julie spoke at Jewish Women International’s Women to Watch event about issues of women’s leadership, mentorship and the role of Jewish tradition in shaping young women’s personal and professional lives.
- Conference Call with Ben Rhodes to discuss events unfolding in Syria
- RA and USCJ Welcome Decision by Women of the Wall to Work Toward Kotel Plan (statement)
- RA Saddened by the Passing of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (statement)
- Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews: Conference Call with Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna evaluated the data from the survey as related to the Conservative Movement and addressed opportunities for our movement highlighted by the results.
- RA Leadership Mourns the Loss of Nelson Mandela (statement)
- RA Marks Newton Anniversary (statement)
Programs of Professional Growth and Learning
A central purpose of the Rabbinical Assembly is to provide support for you in your career. We have developed a series of resources that are useful for every colleague in every area of the rabbinate. We are especially proud of the expanded educational opportunities and tools we offer that will be helpful in contributing to your professional growth.
- Yom Iyun for Chaplains: Using the Psalms in our Pastoral Work
- Rabbinic Management Institute (RMI)
- Clergy 2.0: Leading Through Relationships
- Encore: Preparing for Retirement
- Career Development Conference
- MOCA Mondays: Employment in Pluralistic Settings a monthly interactive teleconference for rabbis seeking new rabbinic positions.
- Kol Isha: Leaning In, Leaning Out, Learning from Each Other
- Yom Iyun for Campus Rabbis
- Private Political Briefing at the AIPAC Conference, Washington DC
- Annual Convention May 12-15, 2014, Dallas, Texas
- Interim Rabbi Training
- Rabbis in Small Congregations Conference
- Eit Ratzon: A Seminar on Employment Transition
Are members of your community eager to assist, either with home hospitality, legal/insurance expertise, or just general assistance?
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In taking the Food Stamp Challenge, you will personally experience the challenges of hunger in the United States – challenges that the 1 in 7 Americans who use food stamps, including nearly 25% a quarter of all American children, face daily. This is a time for education and understanding; a time to say “enough.” When you take the Food Stamp Challenge, you will join hundreds of others across the country, including religious leaders, elected officials, celebrities, and other concerned community activists, to build the public and political will to end hunger in the United States.
We have prepared materials to help you keep track of your experience:
We are proud to join in partnership with the CA, USCJ, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, JCPA, the RAC, and the RRA in sponsoring the Food Stamp Challenge.
This past Tuesday, JTS confered honorary doctorates on the 41 RA Members listed below who have served in the rabbinate for 25 years or more. Gilah Dror, RA President, delivered greetings, and Jack Moline, RA Director of Public Policy, spoke on behalf of the honorees. Chancellor Eisen confered the degrees and delivered the convocation address (the text of which we will post in the coming week). See the official JTS press release for more details about the event.