The monthly newsletter for Reconstructionist Leadership
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2018 Reconstructionist Learning Networks

Reconstructionist Learning Networks connect leaders and members of affiliated Reconstructionist communities with RRC faculty, leading authors, social justice activists and JRC staff. Network participants meet online to explore the issues that matter most to their community through case studies, texts and real-life challenges.

Networks are free for members and staff of affiliated communities, RRA members, RENA members and direct contributors. New 2018 networks include:

Click here to learn more or to register. For more details, contact Shosh Lovett-Graff or call 215.576.0800, ext. 124.

Important Dates

March 7-15
Reconstructionist Movement Israel Trip

April 15
Chesapeake Day of Learning

April 29
Spring Plenum

June 18
First session of Havaya Arts begins

June 24
First session of Camp Havaya begins

Nov. 15-18
Reconstructionist Convention

Coming Soon: RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities’ New Name and Visual Identity

Here at RRC/JRC, we are excited that we will be announcing our organization’s new name and visual identity in just a few weeks. The board of governors voted unanimously to adopt the new name and visual identity in Oct. 2017.

We remain grateful to everyone who participated in all the surveys and gatherings during the yearlong identity development process. We had more than 1,000 Reconstructionists help us along the way. Your collective feedback was invaluable to the final result.

As a community leader, you are invited to attend a webinar on Feb 27 at 8 p.m. EST to discuss how this new expression of our identity can generate meaningful and exciting engagement in our communities and the wider world. Please click here to RSVP.

Mazel Tov!

We are happy to share your community's milestones, achievements and successes. Email Rosa Cohen at to be included in the next Leadership Brief.
New Resources

Keep or Cancel the Controversial Speaker?

The 9Adar Project, a Jewish organization dedicated to promoting constructive dialogue concerning difficult questions, just released its 2018 educational campaign, geared toward the week of February 18-24. This year's materials focus on the all-too-common dilemma of whether to allow a controversial speaker to visit a synagogue or school. At the end of the project, communities can cast their votes and see how other Jewish communities around the world voted as well. 9Adar also offers a complementary project for schools that asks students to debate whether to change a school's tzedakah policy.

Click here for more information or to sign up for the materials

eJewish Philanthropy provides valuable articles for Jewish organizations on topics from marketing to community engagement. The following articles may be relevant to your work and the work of the other leaders of your community:

Updates for Your Board

Plenum 2017

The plenum of the Reconstructionist movement is a group of representatives from each affiliated community who discuss important movement issues. Plenum members meet at least twice a year to give input and vote on vital matters. The next plenum meeting will take place on April 29. Highlights from the Dec. 3, 2017, plenum meeting include:

  • Ed Baum was elected as new Chair of the Plenum.
  • The slate of lay members of the Joint Israel Commission was approved.
  • An opt-in group of plenum reps who will discuss the future of the plenum was established.

The minutes from the meeting can be found here and the audio recording is here. For more information, contact Maurice Harris at

What are Reconstructionists doing?

Are the members of your community receiving the latest movement news? Is your community curious about how Reconstructionists are making a difference? Do your leaders look for new resources and nuggets of wisdom?

If so, encourage your members to subscribe to our email newsletters. Share this link with your community:

We are thrilled to announce the Reconstructionist movement’s upcoming trip to Israel from March 7-15, 2018. This trip will focus on art, music and politics, delving deep into the complexity of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. A pre-trip introductory visit, from March 4-7, is also available for anyone who would has never visited Israel before or who would like to spend more time in Israel. We invite you to share the itinerary and registration form with your community.
Camp Havaya (Pennsylvania) is an incredibly diverse and welcoming community where campers are encouraged to discover what being Jewish means to them—no matter who they are or where they come from. We hope you will share the video with your community. Camp Havaya will start on June 24. More information is available at
Havaya Arts (California) is a high-quality arts and summer camp experience. Havaya Arts aims to be a joyful, welcoming and progressive Jewish community where campers grow as intentional artists and human beings. We hope you will share the video with your community. Havaya Arts will start on June 18. More information is available at
Podcasts From Our Studio

RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities built a professional podcast studio to launch two podcast series: Hashivenu and #Trending Jewish. We hope you will consider sharing the links to and explanations of these podcasts with your community.

Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience

Hashivenu is a podcast about Jewish teachings and practice around resilience. Cultivating resilience, both individually and collectively, is an essential path to personal renewal.

About Episode 6

In challenging times, we often search for firm ground to stand on. In this interview with Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appell of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Deborah Waxman explores mindfulness as a path that can anchor us, nourish our Jewish lives and sustain us as we strive to fulfill our Jewish values. Click here to listen.

#Trending Jewish

How does Judaism intersect with contemporary culture and illuminate how people live their lives? Hosts Rachael Burgess and Bryan Schwartzman don’t profess to have answers, just a lot of questions—some profound and some rather goofy.

About Episode 9

David Lubell, founder and Executive Director of Welcoming America, discusses how we’ve unwittingly taught our children to fear immigrants and why he’s dedicated his professional life to making America a more welcoming place. Click here to listen.

Public Positions on Current Matters

In addition to endorsing and co-sponsoring numerous petitions, public letters and statements from aligned organizations, RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities issues its own public statements on several issues. Here are the statements we have issued and public letters we have signed onto in the last month, either alone or jointly with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association:

B’tselem Elohim: Jewish Ethics, Sexual Harassment and the Workplace of the Future
Open Letter on Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act
Statement on Israeli Government Blacklist

All of our statements are available at, catalogued by date and by topic.

Upcoming Programs

Reconstructionist Weekend
Jan. 19-21, 2018
Or Shalom Jewish Community
625 Brotherhood Way
San Francisco

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, will speak about "Reconstructionism and Resilience" at an evening reception at Or Shalom. The weekend will also feature Friday-night services, the second San Francisco Women's March, and a discussion about current events. For more information or to RSVP, contact Lillian Markind at

LGBT Spirituality & Spiritual Violence Mini Series
Feb. 5, 2018, 7 p.m.
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
522 W. Maple St.
Allentown, Pa.

The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center's LGBT Spirituality & Spiritual Violence Mini-Series will begin with a presentation by Rabbi Deborah Waxman. The mini-series will be moderated by the Rev. Beth Goudy and funded by the E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. Click here to RSVP.

Chesapeake Day of Learning
April 15, 2018
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Adat Shalom
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane
Bethesda, Md. 

Save the date for a day of Jewish learning, featuring a keynote speaker, follow-up workshops and activities for the body, mind and spirit.

Reconstructionist Convention
Nov. 15-18, 2018

This year's convention, titled "Rooted and Relevant: A 2018 Reconstructionist Conversation," will feature learning, singing, dancing, eating and praying. We hope you will encourage your clergy, congregants, board leaders and staff to attend. Click here to add the event to your calendar. 

Recon Communities and Leaders in the News

When the Organized World Meets the Rogue World (Jeducation World): Cyd Weissman, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Impact at RRC/JRC, discusses how Jewish communities can open their doors to meet the diverse needs of today's Jewish world.

How to Reach Us:

Tresa Grauer, Assistant Vice President for Affiliate Support;; 215.576.0800, ext. 144
Cyd Weissman, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Impact;; 215.576.0800, ext. 257
Rabbi Joel Alpert, Director of Rabbinic Placement;; 215.576.0800, ext. 304
Jackie Land, Associate Director of Affiliate Support;; 302.500.0863
Rabbi Maurice Harris, Associate Director of Affiliate Support;; 215.576.0800, ext. 118
Taryn WyronAssistant Director of Affiliate Support and Tikkun Olam Specialist;; 215.576.0800, ext. 107
Dara GaltmanAffiliate Support Assistant;; 215.576.0800, ext. 131
Rosa Cohen, Editor of Leadership Brief and Reconstructionism Today;; 215.576.0800, ext. 120

Our business hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST; Friday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. EST

RRC Community

1299 Church Road, Wyncote, PA 19095
P: 215.576.0800 | F: 215.576.6143

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The Jewish Reconstructionist Communities in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) provide 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 and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities make up a unique kind of entity in the contemporary Jewish landscape.
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