fbpx Reconstructionist Movement Updates | Reconstructing Judaism

Reconstructionist Movement Updates


Though we count time Jewishly, by any consideration the secular year 2018 is an exciting year for the Reconstructionist movement.

  • In January, we introduced a new identity for the movement’s central organization. This identity includes a name, Reconstructing Judaism, tagline and logo. As part of the identity investigation, we also crafted new vision and values statements to expand upon our mission statement.
  • That same month, we also welcomed our newest affiliate, Emek Shalom of Ashland, Oregon. They join Sinagoga Ner Tamid Del Sud of Serrastretta, Italy as our second new affiliate this year.
  • In March, we will lead an Israel trip. This is the first of an annual “guaranteed departure” for Reconstructionists wishing to travel together. I am very excited to participate in this inaugural trip.
  • In June, Havaya Arts will open in Redlands, CA. This specialty camp, which will uniquely focus on camper-created art, will augment our wonderful Camp Havaya in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains and will make our extraordinary summer camp experience accessible to even more children.
  • Later in the summer, we will roll out Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations, a new Reconstructionist thought project co-created with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
  • And in November, we will gather together for the first time in nearly a decade for a convention. In this convening, we will sing together, learn together, pray together, repair the world together. Think of it as summer camp for adults. Think of it as an opportunity to nourish your souls and deepen your connection with the movement and with each other. Think about joining us in Philadelphia!

All of these events are sustained by ongoing activities, many of them happening through webinars and conversations. This year, Reconstructionists across the movement have participated in 25 learning networks, on topics ranging from the practical to theological to intellectual. The learning networks bring people from across the movement together to talk about “questions that can’t be Googled.” I learned a lot teaching my network on reconstructing Reconstructionism. In my travels, I am always excited to hear from folks who are participating in the networks. And we continue to generate extraordinary digital resources, including our award-winning website Ritualwell.org, podcasts, blogs, and the resources gathered together on ReconstructingJudaism.org.

We continue to work on governance structures to foster participation across the movement. The Israel Commission, jointly sponsored by Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, met for the first time in February. We are in the process of establishing a joint Tikkun Olam Commission. And a volunteer group is working to vitalize the Reconstructionist plenum, which includes representatives from every congregation. We are excited to convene all of these bodies in person at our upcoming Convention.

In the course of my travels, I have now visited or met with leadership from more than 60 affiliated congregations. While there is extraordinary diversity within our movement—no surprise, since this was one of the founding principles—I consistently find shared characteristics. Folks who belong to Reconstructionist congregations are interesting, curious in the world and in each other, and are willing to build the Jewish communities they want to live in. And I find that all of them—all of you—live out the values of the Reconstructionist movement:


We strive to realize these core values in every initiative and interaction:

Talmud Torah: Sacred Study

We delve into the wellsprings of our tradition, taking hold of Torah and challenging it to speak to our lives today.

Kedushah: Holiness

We open ourselves to manifestations of the divine as transmitted in our tradition and experienced in our lives.

Kehillah: Diverse and Inclusive Community

We build diverse, participatory, joy-filled communities that embrace Jews, seekers and our loved ones. As we encounter difference, we strive to respect each other’s voices, listening deeply and engaging with hesed (open and generous hearts).

Ahavat Yisrael: Hope and Healing

We act to bring about the vision that the Jewish people, in Israel and throughout the world, will flourish along with our neighbors in peace and security. We seek healing for the rending of our communities and our hearts.

Tzedek: Justice and Sustainability

We fight for justice, sustenance and dignity for all peoples. We work toward sustainability for our world.

Hiddush: Evolving Judaism

Inspired by Torah, the wider world and the Jewish people in all our diversity, we co-create new ways of expressing Jewishness.

It is an honor and a blessing to build this movement with you.

President, Reconstructing Judaism; Aaron and Marjorie Ziegelman Presidential Professor, RRC

Related Resources

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 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 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.


Session 5: Questions and Answers

Audience questions and answers at Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel


Session 4: The Need to Wrestle with Difficult Issues

Rabbi Shira Stutman on Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel


Session 3: The Need to Reconstruct Judaism Itself

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld on Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel


Session 2: Redeveloping Congregational Identity So That Being Part Of The Congregation Makes Meaning

Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann on Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel


Session 1: The Need for Progressive Jewish Communities to Reconstruct Themselves in This Era

Rabbi Sid Schwarz introducing Reconstructing Jewish Communities panel

News and Blogs

What's Next?

Seth Rosen reflects on the successes of our 2018 convention and shares plans to build on it to strengthen our communities and movement.

News and Blogs

Havaya: Camp to Campus

A Camp Havaya alum reflects on the ways that her camp experience shaped her for the better.

News and Blogs

Joint Israel Commission Meets at Convention

The Joint Israel Commission gathered in person at the Reconstructing Judaism convention. Rabbi Maurice Harris reports on their activities and next steps. 

News and Blogs

Jewish Ethics, #MeToo, and Crowd-Sourced Responsa

In 5778, the hashtags #TimesUp #MeToo #GamAni sparked a broad communal conversation about abuses of power on the part of individuals and institutions, within and beyond the Jewish community. The year brought revelations of misconduct among celebrities and government officials, and in Jewish schools, organizations, and synagogues. Now, powerful people who abuse their power are being held accountable, and this is a development that is welcome and long overdue. That doesn’t mean it is easy.


The Founding of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

A history of the beginnings of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College

News and Blogs

Atlanta Congregation to Share Its Passion for Music at Convention

The musical services at Congregation Bet Haverim are a phenomenon. This November, a contingent of more than 30 members of Bet Haverim’s chorus and band will be featured at the Reconstructing Judaism 2018 Convention in Philadelphia.

News and Blogs

Gathering Together

As we continue to develop new ways to build community across time and distance, we must also continue to find ways to “be there” for one another.