What's new in the movement, April 2017
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In this Issue:
A New Passover Resource
Statements from the Movement
Reconstructionist Voices
From the Studio
Jewish Values and Journalistic Ethics
From Anger to Love
Innovation and Impact
Dreams of Peace
Upcoming Networks
Reconstructionist Ritualwell
A Handful of Stones
Upcoming Events
Reconstructionists in the News
Inspiration and Connection
.A New Passover Resource
This Passover, we've developed resources around the theme of refugees. We created a nifty video featuring Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities President Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., walking viewers through the symbolism of a seder plate. We've also created a supplement to use with your haggadah we hope you'll consider using for your Passover seder. Check it out at

The video and supplement was also featured in the Jewish Daily Forward.
.Statements from the Movement
The Cornerstone of a Better World
A powerful Reconstructionist message responding to recent acts of anti-Semitism, as well as inspiring examples of the “best of humanity.”
Statement in Support of Transgender, Non-Binary Inclusion
Statement on the Israeli Knesset’s passage of the “Entry Bill”
.Reconstructionist Voices
The First Syrian Refugee Family Sponsored by Dorshei Emet Arrived!
In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, Congregation Dorshei Emet in Montreal campaigned to sponsor four refugee families. We were happy to hear that the first of the four families arrived in Canada last month. Read more...
The First Reconstructionist Journey
In December, the Reconstructionist movement successfully completed its first Birthright Israel trip! Participants have published essays about their experience in The Times of Israel and eJewishphilanthropy.
.From the Studio 
It is a fascinating time in the world of journalism right now; some might say unprecedented. With fake news proliferating and an antagonistic relationship between the White House and the press, the role of the media and factual reporting has never seemed more urgent. Can Jewish values inform the practice of journalism and journalistic ethics? Check out this conversation between Rabbi David A. Teutsch, Ph.D., a leading Jewish ethicist, and Bryan Schwartzman, an award-winning journalist who is part of RRC's communications team.
A young community organizer reflects on how his work, which is so compelling, also causes him to become angry at those who oppose his campaign and even at allies for not doing enough. How to hold anger alongside love and to act from love?  Cathy Nerney, Sister of St. Joseph, Celene Ayat Ibrahim, Tufts University Muslim Student Association, and Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, RRC respond.


.Innovation and Impact
Dreams of Peace

Language is the channel that helps people connect and understand one another.

Rabbi Shelly Barnathan, RRC ’15, saw an opportunity to use a program created by Dr. Barry Mann to teach middle schoolers Arabic and Hebrew.

With a $2,000 Auerbach Grant, she taught children in her congregation that finding similarities across languages can help sow seeds of peace. Read more...

.Upcoming Networks

Are you ready to dream about and build the Jewish future you want to see?
Reconstructionist Learning Networks connect you with people across geography and perspectives. Explore the crucial questions of Jewish life that just can’t be Googled, and which matter most to you and your community. 

4/24/17 - How do our organizations go beyond inclusion?

.A Handful of Stones
Stacey Zisook Robinson writes a powerful response to the recent desecration of Jewish cemeteries...
Check out the latest blog posts, rituals, and prayers for Passover...
.Upcoming Events

People’s Climate March and Shabbat
April 28-29, 2017
Washington, DC
On Shabbat morning in Washington, DC, there will be a major “People’s Climate March,” similar to the 2014 New York City march, to urge the new administration to build a more sustainable future and energy economy that focuses investments on helping improve the lives of low-income people and people of color. (For the full platform go to This is a great opportunity for Reconstructionist communities to get involved in an important effort.
There are several ways that Reconstructionist communities can get involved:
  • Sign on along with other Jewish communities to either directly attend the march or to organize a solidarity activity in your community (e.g. sermon, text study, discussion, speaker, ritual) during that Shabbat on 4/28-29. Here is the link to register with the Jewish organizing hub where Jewish communities can sign-on.
  • Sign your community up with the overall march as a partner organization: People's Climate Mobilization.
  • Spread the word of your community’s involvement on the “Jewish Communities Support People’s Climate March & Shabbat” Facebook page.
  • Join in the organizing! There is a weekly conference call for the national Jewish organizing hub comprising participating Jewish organizations from over 10 cities – and the list is growing! To join the organizing calls and get more information email

Pacific Northwest Shabbaton
May 5-7, 2017
Camp Solomon Schechter (near Olympia, WA)
Register now to celebrate Shabbat with us in the Pacific Northwest!

We’ll explore how Judaism gets passed on within communities, how to teach and learn, and what changes are needed to nourish Jewish life. There will be programming for adults, children and young adults. For infants to age four, childcare will be provided by pre-registration.

For more information, visit our website or contact Jackie Land at
March On Harrisburg
May 13-25, 2017
Harrisburg, PA

Reconstructionists and an interfaith coalition are marching from Philadelphia to Harrisburg this spring! Organized by RRC student, Michael Pollack, the demonstration will focus on ending gerrymandering, instating automatic voter registration and imposing a state gift ban. After meeting with all Pennsylvania state legislators, participants can join a march from Philadelphia to Harrisburg from May 13 - May 21. From May 22 - May 25, the group will perform targeted nonviolent civil disobedience.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident, you can participate in any part of the walk or the protest in Harrisburg. If you are not in Pennsylvania but would like to support, there are other ways to participate.

To learn more and to sign up, go to
Hevreh 3
July 19-23, 2017
Waynesboro, PA

Hevreh is back for a third summer for adults wanting to broaden their Jewish experience through study, prayer, spiritual renewal and growth with leading Jewish scholars including Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D. and Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D. 

Participants will study with master teachers of Judaica; reflect and rejuvenate; pray, sing and dance, reconnect with friends and make new ones; encounter nature; and celebrate Shabbat!

For more information, visit Hevreh's website.

Camp JRF 2017
Camp JRF is all about the joy of summer camp with the freedom to be who you truly are. We’re a lively, welcoming, and diverse community where kids explore Judaism in their own ways and become the best versions of themselves. It’s no wonder that so many campers call us home!
Learn more about this extraordinary place at and then sign up for a magical summer—your kid will feel part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ll want to experience that magic year after year.
.Reconstructionists in the News
All branches of the Reconstructionist movement have adapted resolutions affirming the full equality of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals. This was covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Canadian Jewish News.

Whose Reality Is It?
eJewish Philanthropy
Reconstructionist summer camp will feature the arts
Jewish Journal
In a show of unity, interfaith leaders help restore Torah at Laurel synagogue
Baltimore Sun
It takes many faiths to repair a Torah scroll
Washington Jewish Week
Trump Immigration Crackdown Forces Synagogues To Consider Becoming ‘Sanctuaries’
How Philly’s Jewish communities are handling unprecedented attacks
Growing anti-Semitism in the US
Deutsche Welle
Campus Interfaith Projects Flourish In Wake Of Ban
NY Jewish Week
Violated Jewish Cemetery
When Is Our Reichstag Fire Coming, And Will We Be Prepared For It?
Huffington Post
Nearly 2000 clergy, faith leaders sign amicus brief in support of transgender protections
Religion News Service
Jews and Muslims defend trans rights
Pink News
Conservative groups join interfaith coalition fighting Trump’s transgender bathroom move
Purim Is No Laughing Matter In The Post-Truth Era
Reform and Reconstructionist movements slam Israel’s boycott law as anti-democratic
Kol HaLev presents annual interfaith theatrical mock trial
Cleveland Jewish News
“Blue Like Me”  An Indian-Jewish artist brings her culture to life
Jewish Ledger
Open Dor Project Announces its First Cohort of Spiritual Startup Leaders/Communities
eJewish Philanthropy
It's Difficult to Hate Up Close'
Interfaith Voices
A Nun At Purim
Faith, Companionship and Vulnerability: Standing With Families Who Have A Child With A Disability
Eli Talks
‘Tribe Talk: New Jewish Conversations’ hosts Oberlin Hillel’s Rabbi Doherty
Cleveland Jewish News
For Trump's first 100 days, scholars send letters on values, religion to nation's leaders
Philadelphia Inquirer
SONiA Headlines Beit Tikvah Benefit
Baltimore Jewish Times
Why Attacks on Jewish Cemeteries Provoke Particular Fear
The Atlantic
Nearly 2,000 Religious Leaders Declare Support For Transgender Teen In Supreme Court Case
Huffington Post
With hate crimes against Jews on the rise, one community grapples with how to respond
Think Progress
Staunton Shakespeare event to discuss antisemitism
News Leader
Young Jews bring davening, song wherever they go
St. Louis Jewish Light
.Inspiration and Connection
The American Values Religious Voices organization writes: “'American Values Religious Voices: 100 Days. 100 Letters' is a national nonpartisan campaign that has brought together a diverse group of 100 scholars of religion to write letters about core American values connected to our different faith traditions. Since Inauguration Day, a letter written by a different scholar has been sent to the President, Vice President, and every member of the 115th Congress and posted on our website for a broader public audience. The letters have responded in a timely manner to current events captivating our nation, in a way that reaffirms who we are as Americans and models how we can learn from one another and work together for the common good. Elsie R. Stern, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Bible at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is a letter writer and a member of the Advisory Committee. S. Tamar Kamionkowski Professor of Biblical Studies at RRC is also one of the letter writers.

Clergy from different faiths are using Values and Voices letters in religious school classrooms, youth group retreats, and various adult education settings. Quotations from the letters can be used in sermons and read as iyyunim in t’fillah; and the letters make a perfect resource for interfaith dialogue. People report reading their daily Values and Voices letters like a morning prayer and describe the letters as an “anchor,” a “beacon of level-headedness and morality,” and an “archive of compassion and democracy.”
Subscribe to the letters on their website and follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram (@ValuesandVoices).

Join members of other Reconstructionist congregations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for wisdom, news and special announcements.

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The Jewish Reconstructionist Communities in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) provides services for more than 100 congregations and havurot where members help create the Judaism they want to live. RRC is a progressive rabbinical school­­ where people of all backgrounds engage intensively with Jewish texts, thought and practice. As a combined organization, RRC / Jewish Reconstructionist Communities make up a unique kind of entity in the contemporary Jewish landscape.
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