The monthly newsletter for Reconstructionist Leadership
Oct 2017
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New Podcasts From Our Studio

RRC/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities built a professional podcast studio to launch two new series: Hashivenu and #Trending Jewish. In addition, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., just released the last podcast in her "Spirit in Practice" mini-series. We hope you will consider sharing the links and explanations to these podcasts with your community.

Hashivenu: Jewish Teachings on Resilience
Hashivenu is a podcast about Jewish teachings and practice around resilience. Cultivating resilience in challenging times, both individually and collectively, is an essential path to personal renewal. Click here to listen to the latest episode.

Spirit in Practice
Spirit in Practice is a podcast miniseries that explores answers to the question, "Do you wonder how you can show up for these challenging times with compassion, courage, equanimity and joy?" Click here to listen to the latest episode.

#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 host of questions—some profound and some rather goofy. Click here to listen to the latest episode.

Important Dates

November 15-18, 2018
Reconstructionist Convention

November 12, 2017
Global Day of Jewish Learning

December 3, 2017
Fall Plenum meeting

March 7-15, 2018
Reconstructionist Movement Israel Trip

In This Newsletter

New Podcasts from Our Studio

Reconstructionist Learning Networks

Summer Camp Registration

Reconstructionist Israel Trip

Statements from the Movement

Updates for Your Board

New Resources

Upcoming Programs

Recon Communities and Leaders in the News

How to Reach Us

RRC Community
2017-18 Reconstructionist Learning Network Registration Is Open

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

This year's network themes include Leadership, Education and Administration, Spirituality and Justice, and Innovation and Growth. Networks are free for members and staff of affiliated communities, RRA members, RENA members and direct contributors. 

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

Summer Camp Registration is Now Open

Camp Havaya (Pennsylvania) is an incredibly diverse and welcoming community where we encourage our kids to discover what being Jewish means to them—no matter who they are or where they come from. It's why so many campers call us home. Find out more and register at

Havaya Arts (California) is where top-notch arts and summer camp meet. Together, we create a place where vibrant Jewish communal life enhances art, which in turn enhances Jewish life and identity. It's where campers become the best versions of themselves. Find out more and register at
Reconstructionist Israel Trip: Dive Deeper Into Israel
March 7-15, 2018

We are thrilled to announce the Reconstructionist movement’s upcoming trip to Israel. This trip will focus on art, music, and politics, delving deep into the complexity of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Click here to learn more and to register.

Statements from the Movement

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

Here are the statements we have issued since September, either alone or jointly with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association:

Statement by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association on Foregoing Annual High Holy Day Call with Trump
Statement on Decision to End Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program
Statement on Las Vegas Shooting
Statement on Fire at URJ Camp Newman

Updates for Your Board

A Little Bit of Text Study for Board Meetings

We are pleased to share a new resource that we hope you’ll enjoy. It contains monthly, single-page Jewish text handouts intended for 10-minute Reconstructionist Torah study at the beginning of board meetings. “A Little Text Study for Board Meetings,” now available for download, contains sources for the entire year. 

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:

New Resources

DACA resources

Is your congregation concerned about the future of undocumented immigrants in the United States? The Jewish Social Justice Roundtable gathered statements from a wide variety of Jewish organizations, including RRC/JRC and RRA, in support of undocumented immigrants in response to President Donald Trump's efforts to repeal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). JRC, RRA, and Ritualwell created a collection of teachings, divrei torah, essays, liturgy, poetry and art focusing on “Embracing the Stranger” - the stranger we encounter inside as we grow in self-awareness, the strangers we meet in the world around us, and the intersection between the two. On1Foot provides text sources to facilitate discussions about welcoming the strangers, or immigrants, in our communities. 

Introducing B'nai Mitzvah Essentials from the Reconstructionist Press

The Reconstructionist Press now offers Torah study and d’var torah writing guides for today’s b'nai mitzvah students, including:

  • Full retellings of the biblical text written at a preteen level
  • Great advice on ways to approach the biblical text
  • Handy charts and organizers for preparing a d’var torah and learning the melodies for Torah and Haftarah trope
  • Full Hebrew texts of the Torah readings
  • Blessings for all customs and traditions
  • Simple instructions for putting on tallit and tefillin

Purchase individual volumes or a full set at the Reconstructionist Press. All proceeds go towards RRC/JRC. Members of Reconstructionist communities receive discounts of 10 to 40 percent off most materials, depending on their community's affiliation status.

Upcoming Programs

Reconsidering the Concept of Chosenness in a Multicultural Society

Oct. 29, 2017
3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
4401 York Ave. South, Minneapolis (Linden Hills)

This program begins with Twin Cities' debut of The Chosen People? A Film about Jewish Identity by Josh Gippin. In the film, the director interviews a number of Jewish scholars, including Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D., RRC '99; Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., RRC '82; and Rabbi Jacob Staub, Ph.D., RRC '77. 

The exchanges reveal a range of affirmations, questions, and challenges to the notion of the Jews as the chosen people. Five Reconstructionist rabbis will then lead a panel discussion around the question: After Charlottesville and Philandro Castille, does the idea of "chosenness" make it harder for Jews to engage in today’s critical dialogues about cultural and religious pluralism, equality and racism?

Contact Isaac Kaufman (; 651-238-7012) or Jeffrey Schein (;  216-409-3813) for more information.

Institute for Prospective Students
Nov. 8 - 11, 2017
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
1299 Church Road
Wyncote, Penn.

If you’ve ever considered becoming a rabbi, or know someone who has, check out RRC’s upcoming open house for prospective rabbinical students. Share the Facebook event with your congregation or go to to learn more.

Global Day of Jewish Learning
Nov. 12, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Congregation Kol Emet
Yardley, Penn.

Join us for a Global Day of Jewish Learning featuring brunch, workshops, and a keynote presentation by Lori Lefkowitz, Ph.D., on "Joseph and the Character of Masculinity in Judaism and Islam." The talk will be live-streamed around the world at 11 a.m. EST. This year's theme will focus on "Beauty and Ugliness." Visit for more details.

Fall Plenum Meeting
Dec. 3, 2017
1 p.m. EST / 10 a.m. PST

Plenum Representatives, please expect further details from the Affiliate Support Department.

Recon Communities and Leaders in the News

Sukkot, Intentional Insecurity, and Las Vegas (Times of Israel): Rabbi Nathan Weiner, RRC '16, connects the fragility of a sukkah to the fragility of human lives. 

How a high-ranking gay Navy chaplain retired with pride (Times of Israel): Rabbi John Cutler, RRC '87, tells the story of serving in the US Navy under DADT. 

Innovation 101: Have 100 Coffees (Jeducation World): Cyd Weissman explores how Rabbi Shelley Barnathan, RRC '15, built a community that puts people before programs. 

Preparing Rabbis to be Change Agents (eJewish Philanthropy): Rabbi Sid Schwarz, RRC '80, discusses the challenges of adapting leadership practices to the 21st century. 

Living in Two Civilizations (Jeducation World): Alex Rubin, an 11-year Camp JRF alumnus, writes about joining secular American and Jewish observances together into a joyful whole. 

Congratulations to Joel Hecker on winning the Scholarship category of the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award!

Or Zarua Lifting Up, Shining Light on Boomer Community (Jewish Exponent): Rabbi Shelley Barnathan, RRC '15, describes the challenges baby boomers face in finding a meaningful spiritual community. 

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
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.-4 p.m. EST

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

.RRC | Jewish Reconstructionist Communities | Ritualwell | Gateways to Israeli-Jewish Renaissance

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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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