The monthly newsletter for Reconstructionist Leadership
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The organization formerly known as Reconstructionist Rabbinical College/Jewish Reconstructionist Communities recently adopted a new name and organizational identity: Reconstructing Judaism.

Over the past year, we received input from more than 1,000 rabbis, congregational leaders and members, which helped us to shape this new identity. Now that we've reached this point, we are excited to continue this engagement with you and your community.

Our goal is to represent you well, to build and deepen the relationship between Reconstructing Judaism and your community, and to advance a Reconstructionist approach to Judaism.

For your benefit, our communications team developed documents we hope you find helpful as you engage your communities around our new identity. Except for the FAQs, the linked documents are in Word so that you may excerpt them easily if you wish.

  1. An FAQ sheet
  2. Our news release
  3. An article you can adapt or excerpt for your community newsletter
  4. A set of our organization’s Key Messages that you can revise for your synagogue or havurah
  5. Graphic for web
  6. Graphic for print

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

Click here to read more about our new identity or watch our video.

Our new identity was featured in many news media sources, including:

* The JTA wire service's story appeared in the Forward. It was also picked up by the Times of Israel, Cleveland Jewish News, St. Louis Jewish Light, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, Phoenix Jewish News and Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.

Reminder: On Feb. 27 at  8 p.m. EST, we are convening a live webinar with community leaders to discuss how the new expression of our identity can generate meaningful and exciting engagement with Reconstructionist Judaism in our communities and the wider world. If you would like to attend and have not yet registered, please click here to register by Feb, 19.

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

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

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:

2018 Reconstructionist Learning Networks

Reconstructionist Learning Networks connect leaders and members of affiliated Reconstructionist communities with RRC faculty, leading authors, social justice activists and Reconstructing Judaism 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.

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 8

How do we pull ourselves together when we feel scattered or unfocused? In this episode of Hashivenu, Rabbi Myriam Klotz and Rabbi Deborah Waxman invite us into the spiritual practice of "hineni" — being present and responsive.

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 have a lot of questions, both profound and goofy.

About Episode 11

What does Judaism do for those who don’t feel compelled by God to live life according to Jewish law? Rabbi Maurice Harris answers this question and explains why he avoids “outing” himself as a rabbi while he’s a passenger on a commercial flight.

Click here to listen.

Public Positions on Current Matters

Reconstructing Judaism endorses and co-sponsors numerous petitions, public letters and statements from aligned organizations and also issues its own public statements on occasion. 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:

Letter Urging Israel to Halt Deportation of Asylum-Seekers
Amicus Brief Supporting Labor Unions
Joint Statement on Recent Abbas Speech
National Jewish Letter on DREAM Act
Statement on Israeli Government Blacklist
Open Letter on Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act

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

Upcoming Programs

Chesapeake Day of Learning
April 15
8:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Adat Shalom
7727 Persimmon Tree Lane
Bethesda, Md.

The program will begin with a choice of services, meditation and yoga followed by a keynote presentation by Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, RRC '82, on spiritual practices for the cultivating of character.

In the interactive portion of the program, participants will have the opportunity to work on their own most challenging trait using the Jewish practice of Mussar. The keynote will be followed by a choice of workshops presented by local and Reconstructing Judaism leaders.

The cost for this program is $18 per person. A box lunch will be provided.

Click here to register. For more information, contact Jackie Land at

Spring Plenum
April 29
Virtual meeting

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

Reconstructionist Convention
Nov. 15-18

This year's convention, titled "Rooted and Relevant: Reconstructing Judaism in 2018," will feature learning, singing, dancing, eating and praying. Stay tuned for more information and click here to add the event to your calendar. 

Recon Communities and Leaders in the News

Jewish Support for Dreamers: A Self-Evident Truth (Times of Israel): Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, executive director of the RRA, and Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of RRC, discuss the sacred value of supporting immigrants.

Why You Should Care About Israel’s Anti-Corruption Protests (Forward): Maya Haber, adjunct professor at RRC, and Bar Gissin explain the opportunities for progressive political parties in Israel in the wake of the anti-corruption protests. 

Jewish men need to talk about #MeToo (Times of Israel): Rabbi Daniel Brenner, RRC '97, discusses how to teach the next generation of Jewish boys about communication, sex ethics, and respect.

In Wake Of Female Rabbis’ Experience, Calls For Sexual Harassment Training For Men (The New York Jewish Week): Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of RRC, RRC '99, Rabbi Yael Ridberg, RRC '97, and Rabbi David Teutsch, professor emeritus at RRC, explore the importance of ethics and boundaries training for rabbinical students.

Female Rabbis Contend Sexual Harassment Persists (Jewish Exponent): Barbara Breitman and Rabbi David Teutsch, RRC faculty members who co-teach a class on ethical boundaries, discuss ways to reduce the sexual harassment that female rabbis experience. 

You Should Know… Ariana Katz (Baltimore Jewish Times): Ariana Katz, RRC '18, plans to establish a synagogue and community Jewish center in Baltimore for Jews of all identities. 

How to Reach Us:

Tresa Grauer, Assistant Vice President for Affiliate Support;; 215.576.0800, ext. 144

Taryn Wyron, Assistant Director of Affiliate Support and Tikkun Olam Specialist;; 215.576.0800, ext. 107

Rabbi Joel Alpert, Director of Rabbinic Placement;; 215.576.0800, ext. 304

Jacob Weinberg, Affiliate Support Assistant;; 215.576.0800, ext. 131


Rabbi Maurice Harris, Associate Director of Affiliate Support;; 215.576.0800, ext. 118

Cyd Weissman, Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Impact;; 215.576.0800, ext. 257

Jackie Land, Associate Director of Affiliate Support;; 302.500.0863

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

You are receiving this email because you are listed in our records as a leader of a Reconstructionist community. If this is no longer the case or if you would like to update your contact information,please click here.

This email went to rabbis/spiritual leaders, cantors, presidents, executive directors, education directors, board members, Plenum representatives, and administrators at congregations and havurot affiliated with the Reconstructionist movement. If you would like us to add another member of your leadership to the list, please email

Copyright © 2018 Reconstructing Judaism, All rights reserved.

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