fbpx 2020 Auerbach Launch and Ignition Grant Recipients | Reconstructing Judaism

2020 Auerbach Launch and Ignition Grant Recipients

Article

Reconstructing Judaism’s Auerbach Launch Grants and Ignition Grants support rabbinical students and rabbis in reconstructing the Jewish landscape to be more inclusive and engaging. This year’s winners point the way to a dynamic Jewish future. 

Auerbach Launch Grants

Rebecca Hornstein
Rebecca Zimmerman Hornstein | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rebecca’s innovative project seeks to reimagine and redefine ketubah creation as a container for pre-commitment spiritual exploration and emotional preparation. Rebecca Zimmerman Hornstein is entering into her fifth and final year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She also works as a social justice organizer, building movements for racial and economic justice both within the Jewish community and in multifaith settings. She is a Wexner Graduate Fellow.

 

Eli Horowitz
Eli Horowitz | Academy for Jewish Religion

JamJews is a shul without walls that emerged from people in the jam music community sharing what they loved about Judaism with each other, and creating a new Jewish community from across the spectrum of Jewish identity, that focuses on inspiration, education and music to draw us together, rather than divide us. Eli Horowitz is the founder of JamJews and a Rabbinical Student at the Academy for Jewish Religion, dedicated to bringing excellent educational and community development experiences to Jewish communities. With experience in different movements over eight years as a professional Jewish educator, Eli brings aunique view and a pluralistic approach to Judaism that is inclusive, holistic, and passionate. 


Auerbach Ignition Grants 

Bec Richman
Rabbi Bec Richman | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rabbi Rebecca (Bec) Richman (she/her) leads the Virtual Arts Beit Midrash that provides a space to connect, explore uncertainty, ask questions, unlock creative potential and build resilience. The weekly gatherings follow the Jewish Studio Process, integrating spiritual practice, learning, and creative process. Rabbi Bec is the Assistant Rabbi and Beit Midrash Director at Germantown Jewish Centre and the Founding Director of the West Philadelphia Art Beit Midrash. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.

 

Miriam Gerominus
Miriam Geronimus | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Miriam Geronimus is in the beginning stages of creating a Jewish community for unaffiliated Jews on Cleveland’s West Side. Jewish Cleveland is centered on the city’s East side, but a growing number of young, queer and intermarried Jews live on the West Side. Miriam is devoting the summer to talking one-on-one with West Cleveland Jews, and is excited to learn with them how to create a diverse, vibrant, accessible Jewish community that best fits their needs.

Noah Rubin-Blose
Noah Rubin-Blose | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Noah’s innovative project is a transgender and interfaith podcast that creates sacred space for trans people from multiple traditions to connect and reconnect to our sacred texts, theology, and freedom—honoring our shared roots and interdependence. Noah Rubin-Blose is a student at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is a maker of queer ritual, builder of interfaith coalitions, teacher and facilitator and lifelong student-participant in Southern movements for racial justice.

sandra lawson
Rabbi Sandra Lawson | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Rabbi Sandra has created a mindful Shabbat service called ”Hava Nashira - Let Us Sing,” aiming to bring together Jewish students from very diverse Jewish backgrounds, thus contributing to building community in rural North Carolina (with contingency plans in place if circumstances change because of COVID-19). Rabbi Sandra is an activist, a public speaker, and musician. She is also known as the Snapchat Rabbi and featured in the JTA as one of 10 Jews you should follow on Snapchat and The 50 Jews everyone should follow on Twitter.

Solomon Hoffman
Solomon Hoffman | Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

Solomon Hoffman is passionate about creating new musical prayer experiences, and is excited to be using the Auerbach Grant to work toward an album of original liturgical music that features a large and diverse ensemble of musical artists. Solomon has completed two years at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and will be spending next year as a chaplain resident in the Mount Sinai Health System as part of his path toward the rabbinate. 

 

Bena Kane Graber
Bena KaneGraber | Academy for Jewish Religion

Over the years Bena’s garden has become a spiritual sanctuary – her sacred, prayerful space. Her passion for prayer, nurturing and gardening inspired the hands-on project Jewish Spiritual Gardening. Bena’s vision is to create the opportunity to bring Jewish mindfulness to indoor/outdoor gardening, through providing tools that combine spiritual, intellectual and practical elements, to joyfully nourish mind, body and soul, to explore innovative options/practices of mindfulness in daily life.

 

 

Reed Kolbar
Reed A. Kolber | Academy for Jewish Religion

Reed’s innovative project is called Rainbow Lev, which is an LGBTQ+ Jewish Teen Leadership Program centered on empowerment through creative ritual, offering uplifting affirmations, perspectives, and practices from our tradition that celebrate exactly who they are and who they want to become. Reed is a hospice chaplain, educator, and community organizer. They received their Bachelors of Arts from Brandeis University in Women’s and Gender Studies. Reed studied at Pardes in Jerusalem in the Year Fellowship Program and then for two years at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and received a Master of Jewish Studies at The Academy for Jewish Religion of California. 

Shmuel Polin

Shmuel Polin | Hebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of Religion

Shmuel Polin is leading “The Opening the Ark Project” of Cincinnati. The project is currently rebuilding one of the great wooden arks of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth that was destroyed in the Holocaust (in 1942). Throughout the summer of 2020, woodworkers and other artists will be convening at his woodshop and studio to work on the project. The project pulls talented artists from within the Jewish–Jewish adjacent community. Artists include woodworkers, painters, architects, etc. The finished product will be a 17-foot-tall aron kodesh, which will be on exhibition at the Skirball Museum of Cincinnati. Follow the project as it develops here.

 

 

Movement Activities

Related Resources

News and Blogs

In 2020, Reconstructionist Communities Prove More Vital (and Adaptive) Than Ever

2020 has been a year defined by pandemic, economic collapse, protests for racial justice, political disarray and, in the case of much of the West Coast, catastrophic fires. Yet Jewish life went on, proving to be both adaptable and vital. Reconstructionist congregations have adapted, based on millennia of precedents and an unceasing commitment to community.

News
News and Blogs

Mourning, Recovering and Rebuilding

News

Tribute to Howard Blitman

Howard N. Blitman, a long-serving member of Reconstructing Judaism’s Board of Governors, was presented with the organization’s Presidential Recognition Award.

Article
News and Blogs

2020 Annual Report

In unprecedented times, Reconstructing Judaism stepped up to provide Jewish connections to meaning and community that so many people found they needed. 

News
News and Blogs

Whizin Prize Essay Explores the Place of Obligation in Modern Jewish Thought

The Center for Jewish Ethics, affiliated with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, sponsors an annual essay contest to encourage innovative thinking on contemporary Jewish ethics. This year’s Whizin Prize has been awarded to an essay by Daniel Mackler, titled “Phenomenology of Hiyuv Out of the Sources of Ethics: Joseph Soloveitchik and Mara Benjamin.” The essay is a scholarly exploration of the religious experience of obligation, bringing together a traditional and a feminist perspective.  

News
News and Blogs

Day of Learning on Homelessness Combined Learning With Action

Reconstructing Judaism’s 2020 New York Day of Learning: Jewish Response to Homelessness, combined deep learning and practical action to help those among us who are homeless.

News
News and Blogs

President's Report 2020

Judaism teaches that seven years is a full cycle, and the current status of Reconstructing Judaism bears this out. Over the last seven years since the merger, and in the six years of my presidency, we have been transformed and are acting more and more every day as an integrated organization whose staff members work collaboratively towards shared goals.

News
News and Blogs

Collaboration Across Difference: An Innovation Power Tool

This article was originally published in eJewish Philanthropy on Nov. 25, 2019.

News
News and Blogs

Provide for Yourself a Rabbi

If we are serious about building Jewish community, what could be more important than educating, nurturing and supporting Jewish leaders — rabbis — who will partner with us, teach us, learn with us, and both ground us in our tradition and inspire us to reach for new meaning?

News
News and Blogs

Finding a Home Within a Home in Central Oregon: Shalom Bayit Opens Doors to Reconstructing Judaism

Shalom Bayit of Bend Oregon is a new affiliate of Reconstructing Judaism. Their story is one of an eclectic, big-tent congregation with a spiritual and informal approach. Members have built a meaningful Jewish community in a city with virtually no history of Jewish life and where nearly everyone is a transplant.

News
News and Blogs

With Training and Funding From RRC, Reconstructionist Rabbis and Rabbinical Students Engage Those Seeking Connection and Meaning

Reconstructing Judaism’s support of entrepreneurship gives rabbinical students and recent graduates the funding, supervision and mentorship to turn ideas into reality. “For me, the big story is that Jews remain seekers of meaning and community. What our Auerbach grants do is create new portals for Jewish community and meaning,” said Cyd Weissman, Reconstructing Judaism’s vice president for Innovation and Impact.

News
News and Blogs

Reconstructionist Affiliates, Rabbis Push for More Just Immigration System

Rooted in the Jewish textual tradition and lived experience, Reconstructionist communities are aiding immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through direct service, education and advocacy.

News
News and Blogs

From Despair to Action

Rabbi Deborah Waxman reflects on the ways in which Reconstructing Judaism is strengthening the ways in which we support and connect Jewish communities traumatized by the recent surge in antisemitic attacks.

News

Session 5: Questions and Answers

Audience questions and answers at Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel

Article

Session 4: The Need to Wrestle with Difficult Issues

Rabbi Shira Stutman on Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel

Article