Direct and Personal Staff Support
Affiliated congregations and havurot can draw on the expertise of the Reconstructionist movement, whether through staff and faculty of Reconstructing Judaism or networks of our congregational leaders. We can advise on everything from curriculum development to organizational issues such as leadership training, marketing, and growth. Congregational leaders should contact Vice President for Thriving Communities Tresa Grauer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.576.0800, ext. 144 to discuss their questions.
Connections and Networking Opportunities
Members of nearly 100 affiliates are connected through dedicated list serves for congregational presidents, educators, and administrators. Thriving Communities staff often play the role of matchmaker between rabbis, educators, and lay leaders of congregations that are dealing with similar issues. We also offer regular, role-specific online meetings to connect, network, share, and problem-solve with congregational leaders across the movement.
Support for your Congregation’s Development of its own Unique, Bottom-up Approach to Jewish Practice and Ritual
While we have a wonderful prayer book series, you don’t have to use it, nor do you have to conform to a particular style of services to be an affiliate. Belonging to the Reconstructionist movement means being part of a network of creative, independent, progressive Jewish communities, each one of which expresses its own unique combination of elements and influences. We also love to learn from our affiliates’ different approaches to Jewish life, and to share and amplify different congregations’ insights and practices.
Reasonable and Affordable Movement Dues
We ask affiliated congregations to contribute 1 – 2 % of their annual budget in dues. That contribution goes a long way to supporting our rabbinical school, our sharable resources, and our ongoing support to our communities.
The plenum of the Reconstructionist movement embodies the democratic ideals we share for Judaism. This group of representatives from each affiliated congregation and havurah discusses pressing issues—both those internal to the movement and those that grow out of our relationship to the world. Plenum members share perspectives on conversations that take place in their respective communities, covering topics such as how to preserve a sense of connection while a congregation grows. The plenum votes on various matters and has input into the future direction of Reconstructionist Judaism.
Plenum members enjoy ongoing communications using a private email listserv and hold twice-yearly business meetings in a virtual format, such as a web-based meeting or conference call. This democratic body clearly distinguishes the Reconstructionist working process from that of other movements. It will continue to play a pivotal role in the growth and influence of Reconstructionist Judaism. Additional information on the plenum is available at ReconstructingJudaism.org/plenum
Topical Conversations and Support for Interest Groups
We offer a rich set of distance learning options via our Learning Networks. You can find out more about our networks and sign up to participate at this link.
We also run private listserv forums for congregational presidents, educators, and executive directors.
Based on the responses we received when we surveyed congregations by geographical location, we are organizing special programs in coordination with affiliated congregations. Recent area events have included a the Chespeake Learning Series 2020 and the New York Day of Learning 2020 in partnership with Project Renewal.
Summer Camp Offerings
Camp Havaya is our outstanding Jewish summer camp, located in the Poconos.
Tikkun Olam and Other Organizational Affiliations in the Wider Community
Reconstructing Judaism represents the movement in tikkun olam efforts and in other broad-based community coalitions. Our Tikkun Olam Commission—which includes rabbis and lay representatives from our affiliates—has selected the wealth gap as our current focus. We will add a strong Jewish voice to efforts to reverse the widening discrepancy between rich and poor in North America.
Having a movement-wide focus allows us to make a greater impact in an area that we hold as a high priority. You can read more about the Tikkun Olam Commission and the wealth gap focus on our website here.
We continue to maintain other tikkun olam alliances, and the Commission evaluates new possibilities on an ongoing basis. Currently we are partners with the following groups:
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL): www.coejl.org
Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence: www.faithsagainstgunviolence.org
Green Hevra: jewcology.org
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA): www.jewishpublicaffairs.org
Jewish Day of Constructive Conflict: http://9adar.org
Jewish Social Justice Roundtable: www.jewishsocialjustice.org
Mazon: Jewish Response to Hunger: www.mazon.org
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: www.rcrc.org
Aviv Revolving Loan Fund for Growth of the Reconstructionist Movement
The Aviv Revolving Loan Fund supports new initiatives by Reconstructionist affiliates. Aviv means “spring” in Hebrew, and this fund was established through the generosity of anonymous donors to promote growth opportunities by offering fiscal assistance and tangible expertise. Communities affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement at any level—Enter, Engage or Invest—can apply.
Aviv Loans are interest-free, up to $20,000 each, with a three-year term; up to two loans will be disbursed each year. For more information and to apply, please visit ReconstructingJudaism.org/AvivLoans.