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News and Blogs

Below, you’ll find a list of all news and blog posts on the site in reverse chronological order.

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In Memoriam
November 23, 2021

On the eve of Thanksgiving, we feel grateful for one of the most extraordinary things about the Reconstructionist movement — the caliber of people who are attracted to it. We are lucky that so many of these extraordinary people step up into leadership, on our behalf and in the wider world. Over the last several months, we have lost several national leaders, and we write now to share some reflections on these folks who offered the best of themselves to us and on our behalf.




Jewish Organizational Letter on U.S. Special Envoy
November 11, 2021

We, the undersigned 21 national Jewish organizations, including the four streams of American Judaism, write to urge you to swiftly fill the position of U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism by considering the current nominee. Filling this position is a high priority for our organizations and of utmost importance in fighting growing antisemitism and hate worldwide.




Calling on Gantz to reconsider designation of Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as “terrorists”
November 1, 2021

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) and Reconstructing Judaism express deep concern over last week’s decision by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to declare six Palestinian human rights groups to be “terror organizations.” Absent compelling evidence, this policy enacts a draconian measure that will criminalize critical human rights work.




Responding to antisemitism by growing community, deepening commitments and building coalitions
October 28, 2021

On Sunday Oct. 28, 2018 — one day after the deadliest day in American Jewish history — I mourned with members of Congregation Dor Hadash. The Pittsburgh Reconstructionist congregation met in the Tree of Life building and had lost one of its own, Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz (z”l). Another member, Dan Leger, clung to life. Virtually every member of the congregation had gathered in solidarity. People were understandably raw, numb and devastated. Yet, in their commitment to mutual support, I was reminded of the awesome power of Jewish community to cultivate resilience in the face of pain and threat, including violent antisemitism.


In these polarized times, discourse over how best to confront antisemitism has often been visceral and sometimes taken on hyperbolic tones. At Reconstructing Judaism, we believe there are several steps toward a vigorous and constructive fight against rising antisemitism.




Ritualwell’s ADVOT Creates Poetic Community
October 28, 2021

Before Ritualwell was a website containing more than 2,200 liturgy and rituals crowdsourced by Jews, it was an idea of where to put dozens of scraps of paper in the drawers of offices in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Kolot: Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies in Wyncote. 


In 2001, RRC and Kolot, in partnership with Ma’yan, a Jewish feminist organization, uploaded the prayers scrawled on those papers to the newfangled Internet, creating an archive of Jewish writing that filled in the gaps of liturgies and practices that historically excluded women and LGBTQ+ Jews. Community members were invited to write and submit their own liturgies and rituals.


Almost two decades later, Ritualwell has not only become a library of prayers and poetry, but an online community center for Jews looking to hone their skills through writing workshops and classes.




Nobel Prize Winner Has Roots in Reconstructionist Affiliate Dor Hadash
October 14, 2021

Mazel tov to Joshua Angrist, an Israeli-American economist who was awarded the 2021 Nobel prize in economics, together with David Card and Guido Imbens. 


Angrist was raised in Pittsburgh and celebrated his bar mitzvah at Congregation Dor Hadash, a Reconstructionist affiliate. 




New Online Community for Jewish Poets and Liturgists Aims to Produce “Ripple” Effect
October 12, 2021

For 20 years, Ritualwell has served as a pioneering resource for original Jewish liturgy and rituals, along the way nurturing an informal network of liturgists, poets and ritual innovators. Now, it has launched ADVOT @ Ritualwell, a formal online community offering unprecedented support and empowerment to writers who are imagining new ways to mark life’s most salient moments in a Jewish context.




The "Next Normal" and Our Movement
October 7, 2021

The last sixteen months of the pandemic have highlighted the necessity of community as something both poignant and urgent.  With many of us physically removed from our “normal” sites of gathering (i.e., workplaces, schools, cultural venues, “third spaces,” places of worship), we’ve learned to cultivate relationships online, to use digital tools to create new places of meeting and connection, and to experiment with alternative and even more accessible forms of engagement.  Despite the very real challenges of long-term isolation and Zoom fatigue, we’ve found new ways to experience community, to address pragmatic needs, and to fill our souls.




Jewish Rohingya Justice Network Applauds Introduction of The Bipartisan, Bicameral Burma Act
October 6, 2021

The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network applauds House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) for their leadership in introducing the Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act of 2021 or the BURMA Act. This legislation comes at a critical moment for all of the people of Burma, including the Rohingya people, and we call on every member of Congress to support this bill’s passage without delay.




Creating Radically Welcoming Communities
July 19, 2021

In this workshop, Rabbi Lawson addresses the question, “What do our Jewish texts and values say about welcoming others into our communities?”




Statement on the No Fear Rally
July 9, 2021

Although Reconstructing Judaism has not been asked to participate in the No Fear rally, and has therefore had no opportunity to participate in its messaging or planning, we endorse it in principle because we are firmly opposed to antisemitism and, in our efforts to foster engaged and substantive Jewish life and in our tikkun olam and public square work, we act continuously to counter it. 




Dynamic Hebrew Bible Scholar to Lead Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
June 16, 2021

Amanda Beckenstein Mbuvi, Ph.D., has been named the next vice president for academic affairs at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) outside Philadelphia. Mbuvi (she/her), a scholar of Hebrew Bible, brings to this role a wealth of academic, administrative and nonprofit leadership experience.




Reconstructing Judaism Adopts Commitments on Racial Justice
June 15, 2021

The Board of Governors of Reconstructing Judaism has adopted a comprehensive set of commitments to racial justice.




NPR Story on Rising Antisemitism and the Role of Allies
June 7, 2021

In the wake of the recent armed hostilities between Israel and Gaza, American Jews have increasingly experienced antisemitic harassment and violence. In a recent NPR story, “Antisemitism Spikes, And Many Jews Wonder: ‘Where Are Our Allies?’”, Rabbi Sandra Lawson recounts her experience being targeted on social media.




America's First Bat Mitzvah and its Legacy for American Jewish Life
May 27, 2021

The first American bat mitzvah took place nearly a century ago, but its effects reverberate to this day. This podcast episode explores how the bat mitzvah helped pave the way for greater inclusion of women in public Jewish ritual and practice and laid the groundwork for further steps toward inclusion.




North American Jewish Groups Denounce Antisemitic Attacks in Wake of Hostilities Between Israel and Hamas
May 23, 2021

As North American Jewish denominations representing a significant majority of American Jewry, we join together to uniformly condemn rising incidences of antisemitism. We commend the many religious, civil society and political leaders of goodwill who have denounced these actions and are urging and implementing steps to strengthen efforts to combat antisemitism and antisemitic attacks.




Statement on the Spiraling Violence between Israelis and Palestinians
May 14, 2021

The spiraling violence that began in Jerusalem and now includes all of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank is heartbreaking and frightening. We condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad that have targeted civilians, claimed Israeli lives, and terrified children. We also mourn the scores of dead in Gaza, including dozens of children, and we call on Israel’s leaders to remember that their powerful military response can be devastating for families and children there.




Webinar on Jerusalem Crisis and Current Violence
May 11, 2021

Recent days have seen an escalation in violence in Jerusalem, and sadly, violence has been flaring throughout today, Jerusalem Day. With the violent events at Al Aqsa mosque, police crackdowns on Palestinian protesters, the threat of home evictions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and today’s incendiary Flag March, the city is in a state of crisis. Hamas rockets have fallen on Jerusalem and other parts of Israel and have been met by retaliatory attacks in Gaza. This is a highly volatile and dynamic situation — and we don’t know where it will lead. Members of Reconstructionist communities and rabbis in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are invited to join in an urgent webinar with leading experts.



Center for Jewish Ethics Awards Whizin Prize to Essay Focusing on Role of Women in Modern Orthodoxy
May 10, 2021

The Center for Jewish Ethics, affiliated with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, has awarded the 2021 Whizin Prize — an essay contest to encourage innovative thinking on contemporary Jewish ethics — to Miriam Attia, a doctoral student in religious ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.




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