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Bryan Schwartzman

Associate Director for Strategic Communications, Reconstructing Judaism

Bryan Schwartzman utilizes his background in journalism, media relations and development to advance Reconstructing Judaism’s messaging and storytelling. He oversees content for ReconstructingJudaism.org, writes original features, handles media relations, and hosts the podcast Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations.

An award-winning journalist, he spent a decade reporting for the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and has written for a variety of Jewish publications including the Forward and the Jerusalem Post. Prior to joining Reconstructing Judaism, he was the manager of marketing and communications for the Evans Consulting Group, which specializes in guiding nonprofit fundraising campaigns. He also writes short fiction and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Bryan earned his bachelor of arts in English and Journalism at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his master’s degree in modern Jewish studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Rabbi Asher Sofman, wearing glasses, a collared shirt and patterned sweater, poses outside.

Reconstructionist Community Sustained Rabbi Asher Sofman; In New DEI Position, Seeks for Others to Have the Same Gift

From his childhood congregation to Camp Havaya and rabbinical school, Rabbi Asher Sofman found his spiritual home in the Reconstructionist movement. Now the 2023 Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) graduate has joined the Reconstructing Judaism team to help even more people find the same kind of life-affirming, spiritually nourishing community.

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Two women with a child who is blowing out a birthday candle.

Growing Today’s Jewish Families: New Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives

Considering adopting a child? Pursuing parenthood through artificial insemination or surrogacy? Interested in using a Jewish framework to think through the myriad ethical questions each path presents?

Then be sure to register for the upcoming online learning series, “Growing Today’s Jewish Families: New Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives.” The five live sessions, which will be shared on Zoom, begin on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 4:30 p.m. EST, concluding Sunday, March 10, at 4:30 p.m. EST. (See schedule and register here.) The series also includes an array of pre-recorded sessions.

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The front door of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill.

Talking About Israel During Wartime? Here’s One Reconstructionist Model

Members of Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill. — one of the movement’s oldest congregations, and one where the conversation about Israel had long proved polarizing — have shown that such respectful engagement is possible, maybe even necessary.

Over the past two months, the congregation has leaned into Reconstructionist values by emphasizing the community’s voice over the rabbi’s and embracing complexity and nuance. Following a process that lasted for about three weeks, entailing thousands of emails, two board meetings and feedback from more than 200 members, the congregation adopted a statement steeped in Jewish values, that declared “All parties must stop the killing to create the conditions for lasting peace.”

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An illuminated, floating heart on a beach, with ocean water in the background. This image was to promote the recent Ritualwell program.

Virtual Ritualwell Gathering of Poetry and Prayer Provides Space to Grieve and Come Together

For 45 minutes, participants had a digital space to be together and hold their intense, conflicting emotions. Presenters recited poems — both their own work, composed in the past days, and the work of other poets — led meditations and recited prayers, such as the Mi Sheberach, a prayer for healing, and the Kaddish, the memorial prayer for the dead. (Here is a link to all the resources recited during the program.)

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A waist-up image of Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, standing in front of a tree.

Writer, Educator, Disability Activist to Lead Ritualwell, Leading Source of Creative Jewish Expression and Writer’s Community

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer was recently named Ritualwell’s director of virtual content and program, a position she considers her dream job. In this role, she can weave together the multiple strands of her life: her passion for creativity and the arts, her focus on spirituality and writing, her experience in editing and mentoring writers, her commitment to children and families, and making Jewish community and experience accessible to all.

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Rabbi Lily Solochek poses in front of a tree.

Rabbi Lily Solochek: Taking K-12 Reconstructionist Education to the Next Level

Rabbi Lily Solochek is a key part of a bold new endeavor and has been tasked with taking Reconstructionist education to the next level. They have been named director of Reconstructing Judaism’s new Wenger-Markowitz Family Education Initiative. Funded with a $1 million gift from Reconstructionist leaders Jonathan Markowitz and Ruth Wenger, the initiative will bolster K-12 educational offerings across the Reconstructionist movement.

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The Reconstructionist Network