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News from Reconstructing Judaism and our Affiliates

 

You can find a list of our public positions and endorsements here.

Reconstructionist News

 

News from Reconstructing Judaism and our Affiliates

 

You can find a list of our public positions and endorsements here.

Reconstructionist News
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.

Reconstructionist News
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.

Reconstructionist News - Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
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.

Reconstructionist News
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.
Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
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.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
February 3, 2021

Nominations are open for the Reconstructionist movement's Tikkun Olam Commission and Joint Israel Commission.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
January 20, 2021

Rabbi Sandra Lawson (she/her), a trailblazing leader, will join Reconstructing Judaism as its inaugural Director of Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Working with senior staff, lay leaders, clergy, rabbinical students and Reconstructionist communities, Lawson will help Reconstructing Judaism realize its deeply held aspiration of becoming an anti-racist organization and movement. Lawson is a 2018 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College graduate. 

Reconstructionist News - Pursuing Justice
January 5, 2021

Jewish experience offers a valuable entryway into the study of race. Jewish identities and experience complicate conceptions that are overly simplistic or that lack nuance. Jewish history illuminates both the difficulty and the imperative of grappling with race and racism. To deepen our understanding of race, we have organized a series of online talks that will bring leading scholars of race, religion and Jewish life to a broad public.

Reconstructionist News
November 16, 2020

The existential nature of the Coronavirus pandemic is laying the groundwork for a religious revival, and the Reconstructionist movement is poised to contribute a compelling vision of 21st-century Jewish life as part of this revival.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
October 29, 2020

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.

Reconstructionist News - LGBTQ Inclusion
October 12, 2020

Reconstructing Judaism’s president, Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., has been hailed as an LGBT Icon as part of LGBT History Month. Waxman is the first woman and first lesbian to lead a major Jewish denomination and rabbinical seminary.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
September 25, 2020

Reconstructing Judaism explores and funds innovative ideas for connecting with and serving unengaged and under-engaged populations — in new ways and spaces. Congregation Bet Haverim created "Your Jewish Bridge" in Atlanta, and its founder shares lessons learned after the first year and a half of the project. 

Reconstructionist News
September 3, 2020

This summer we encountered a growing movement that forces us to stare into the face of racial injustice. For those of us who are accepted as white, it demands that we stop looking away. It requires us to try to imagine what it means to raise a child of color in America and examine how we, despite all of our best intentions, fail in our efforts to include and empower people of color in our civil and religious communities.

Reconstructionist News
August 13, 2020
Reconstructionist News
August 11, 2020

Now that Joe Biden has telegraphed his pick for vice president, Kamala Harris, let’s give credit to the woman who stepped out first: Victoria Claflin Woodhull. In 1872, before women had the right to vote, Woodhull ran for president against Ulysses S. Grant. Since then, according to Rutgers University, at least 31 women have made serious bids to be president or vice president of the United States. Six of those women ran twice. You know how many have won. Now, at this historic moment, I’m thinking a lot about women and power.

Reconstructionist News
July 31, 2020

Zoom Shabbat minyan has done little for me. I’ve tried it repeatedly. But I find praying or learning via Zoom more work-like than spirit-filled. So for pandemic Shabbat enrichment, I regularly access Reconstructing Judaism’s Virtual Shabbat Box (VSB). Every Thursday, with contactless delivery, the VSB arrives in my inbox. I click to find a variety of ways to engage while sitting on my sofa. Essays, videos, poetry, podcasts are weekly offered in the VSB and a welcomed part of my re-imagined Shabbat experience.

Reconstructionist News - Congregational Resources
June 30, 2020

This past month, a working group made up of staff at the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements collaborated, with major support from the Secure Community Network, on putting together a “Guide to the Considerations about Re-Opening Synagogue Buildings.” The document offers synagogues some guidance and suggested methodical steps for decision-making and implementation of re-opening plans.

Reconstructionist News - Racial Diversity
June 19, 2020

Reconstructing Judaism is fully committed to building an anti-racist Jewish community. We state firmly and unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, and that working tirelessly to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter is a Jewish value. As leaders of Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement, we commit ourselves to the Community Obligations articulated by Not Free to Desist.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
June 8, 2020

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

Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
June 4, 2020

At the Center for Jewish Ethics, we have created Jewish Values and the Coronavirus, a guide to help frame values-based decision making in this time of pandemic. This web-based resource collects and curates sources from the Torah and rabbinic texts alongside insights from leading ethical thinkers from across the Jewish world and beyond.

Reconstructionist News
May 21, 2020

Recontructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association are signatories to the following appeal from J-Link, an international network of progressive Jewish organizations from
Israel, the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia.

Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
May 21, 2020

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.  

Reconstructionist News - Values-Based Decision Making
May 7, 2020

In its unsigned editorial on May 5, "The False Choice Between Safety and the Economy", The New York Jewish Week points to the "Reopening Our Institutions" document produced by Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. The editorial highlights the Reconstructionist movement's values-based approach to questions pertaining to reopening religious institutions, and championed our movement's focus on pikuakh nefesh (saving lives) above all other concerns.

Reconstructionist News
March 20, 2020

In this time of mounting uncertainty, in which the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting normal life and bringing it to a near standstill,  Reconstructing Judaism is offering a “Virtual Shabbat Box” filled with essays, meditations and other resources that can be downloaded for Shabbat.

Reconstructionist News - Spirituality
March 13, 2020

In this time of mounting uncertainty, in which the COVID-19 coronavirus is disrupting normal life and bringing it to a near-standstill,  we offer you a Virtual Shabbat Box. This Shabbat Box doesn’t contain challah or candles, but rather essays, meditations and other resources for your senses that you can download and digest for Shabbat.

Reconstructionist News - Israel
February 21, 2020

Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She has operated a dairy farm in the Missouri Ozarks, eked out a living as a classical cellist, enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in her 50s and started a new life in Israel in her 60s. Now a member of Israel’s largest grassroots movement, she is pursuing a goal that’s eluded the world for a century: a negotiated political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Reconstructionist News - Pursuing Justice
February 20, 2020

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.

Reconstructionist News
February 10, 2020

The newest Reconstructionist community in Europe is Jüdische Gemeinde Michelsberg (Jewish Community of Michelsberg). It is located in Wiesbaden, the capital city of the State of Hesse, Germany. Expect to hear more about Jüdische Gemeinde Michelsberg and our other new communities in the coming months.

Reconstructionist News - Inclusion
January 28, 2020

The Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) this month expanded its online exhibit “Women Rabbis,” which highlights nearly a dozen Reconstructionist clergy as well as the history of the movement. 

Reconstructionist News - Environment
January 27, 2020

Tara Saltzman, director of lifelong learning at Congregation Beth Evergreen in Denver, reflects on the ups and downs her congregation has experienced on the road to becoming more environmentally friendly.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
January 27, 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.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
December 3, 2019

We’re beyond excited to share with you that our new home for Havaya Arts is Scripps College in Claremont, Calif.!

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
October 29, 2019

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.

Reconstructionist News
October 28, 2019

Reconstructionist Congregation Dor Hadash has responded to the antisemitic, anti-immigrant attack last year by doubling down on its commitment to help refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers. “We who are still alive have an obligation to honor the memory of those who are no longer with us by doing acts of loving kindness, doing socially conscious things to make the world a better place. That’s how Dor Hadash operates,” said Dan Leger, the Dor Hadash member injured in the shooting. “We pray with our feet, we pray with our votes,” he continued. “We might open a prayer book once in a while — some of us might do it more often than others — but we are an acutely socially responsible group of people who feels that the way we honor being Jewish and being connected with the Divine is by actively trying to make the world a safer, better, more wholesome place to live in.”

Reconstructionist News
October 23, 2019

This 13-minute piece from 60 Minutes is among the most moving and informative pieces of journalism on the horrific Pittsburgh shooting. It captures the scope of the human tragedy, as well as the inspirational manner in which the greater Pittsburgh community and people of other faiths have rallied behind the city's Jewish community. It also explores the nuanced debate over how best to respond to the attack, and heavily features members of the Reconstructionist affiliate, Congregation Dor Hadash.

Reconstructionist News - Music
October 7, 2019

Reconstructionist Jews are creating beautiful music. In this video, watch and listen to some of the musical highlights from our 2018 Convention and learn about Kolot Zimrah, a new online community where Reconstructionist musicians share their latest creations with the world.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
September 3, 2019

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.

Reconstructionist News - Reconstructionism
July 31, 2019

A Year With Mordecai Kaplan: Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion by Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Ph.D. is a deeply rooted and boldly relevant Torah commentary. For each week's reading, Rabbi Reuben weaves together traditional commentary, a nugget of Mordecai Kaplan's thought, and a vivid personal insight that illuminates the connection between the two. This powerful and accessible work invites us to engage with Torah, Kaplan and contemporary human experience in ways that are nourishing, optimistic and inspiring.

Reconstructionist News - Israel
July 26, 2019

These demagogues sow fear and stoke racial tension. They promote an exclusivist, chauvinist white nationalism. But they will not win. Jewish history teaches us that tyranny cannot sustain itself. From Pharaoh to the Roman Emperors to the monarchs who expelled us from multiple parts of Europe, Jews have outlasted the tyrants who have sought our destruction. And we American Jews know that the only way for the Israel-America friendship to survive — and not be tossed out along with these demagogues — is to center our democratic values.

Reconstructionist News - Pursuing Justice
July 15, 2019

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

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