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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
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 - Shavuot
May 28, 2020

The Reconstructionist movement’s Shavuot All Night Learning is a Tikkun Leyl Shavuot (an all-night study of Torah in its broadest sense.) It will bring together teachers, performers, learners, students, creatives and seekers across the globe into each other’s homes to celebrate the holiday.

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.

Reconstructionist News - Israel
June 24, 2019

Today, ten leading organizations representing Americans who are committed to pursuing democracy, equality and peace in Israel announced the launch of the Progressive Israel Network. The new coalition will provide a strong, unified voice in support of its members’ common goals: democracy and equal rights, religious freedom and pluralism, and a two-state solution that would secure a peaceful future for Israel and end the 52-year-long occupation.

Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
June 20, 2019

In its annual content, the Center for Jewish Ethics has recognized two essays that together demonstrate the vitality and breadth of the field of Jewish ethics: one on sexual ethics, the other on Kant's influence on modern Jewish ethical thought.

Reconstructionist News - Pursuing Justice
April 25, 2019

Rabbi Elliott Tepperman's vision of a synagogue: a community that sustains itself through prayer and Torah, while also "trying to be a powerful force for making change in the world.”

Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
April 2, 2019

The Center for Jewish Ethics' conference in March 2019  highlighted voices from across the Jewish world, yet the proceedings embodied the Reconstructionist approach to conversation. Presenters and attendees examined issues from many sides, exchanging perspectives with deep respect for one another and Jewish tradition.

Reconstructionist News
March 5, 2019

Rabbi Sandra Lawson, ’18, who serves as associate chaplain for Jewish life and Jewish educator at Elon University in North Carolina, was recently featured in an in-depth video segment produced by Elon News Network, the university’s student-run organization.

Reconstructionist News - Ethics and Values
February 1, 2019

What are the key ethical questions facing Jews and Jewish communities today? How can scholars, rabbis and communal leaders discuss ethics in a way that impacts how people behave in the real world?  “Jewish Values & the Ethical Now: A Conference in Celebration of Rabbi David A. Teutsch, Ph.D” will explore these questions on March 10-11, 2019 in Philadelphia.

Reconstructionist News
February 1, 2019

Through Evolve, we we provide deep, thoughtful, challenging materials to rabbis, professionals and educated laypeople, and provide forums for discussing and reflecting on these materials with respect.

Reconstructionist News - Movement Activities
November 20, 2018

Several dispatches from the November 2018 Reconstructing Judaism conference: prayer, learning, and action.

Reconstructionist News
November 7, 2018

Reconstructionist congregation Dor Hadash was one of the groups in the crosshairs of the horrific Pittsburgh shooting attack. We recount the unique qualities of this vibrant community, the trauma they've undergone, and the values they continue to uphold.  

Reconstructionist News
November 7, 2018

A selection of articles, essays and statements on the tragic events in Pittsburgh. 

Reconstructionist News
October 26, 2018

What ideas are Jewish communities exploring to reach unengaged and under-engaged populations in new ways and spaces? What conversations are taking place about how to fund such ideas? How can communities gain the confidence to try, and possibly fail, in order to implement the next idea? These questions will be front-and-center during the closing program of “Rooted and Relevant: Reconstructing Judaism in 2018,” the Reconstructionist movement’s first convention in nearly a decade.

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