The monthly newsletter for Reconstructionist Leadership
Nov 2017
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Havaya Arts

Opening this summer, Havaya Arts is a high-quality arts and summer camp experience in southern California. 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 Havaya Arts' new video with your community. Visit and let your community know about this new Reconstructionist summer camp opportunity.

Important Dates

Dec. 3, 2017 
Fall Plenum Meeting

March 7-15, 2018
Reconstructionist Movement Israel Trip

Nov. 15-18, 2018
Reconstructionist Convention

Mazel Tov to...

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

Updates for Your Board

Sign up now for Hanukkah and Passover packets

Jewish Reconstructionist Communities would like to send Hanukkah and Passover gift packages to your congregation's college students and young adults. This is a great way to engage your young adults after they have moved away from home, and we’ll send it with greetings from your congregation as well. In previous years, the Hanukkah packets have included a make-your-own-latkes kit, a de-stressing Hanukkah coloring book, chocolate gelt and more. 

To sign up for the Hanukkah and Passover packets, send the students' names, full college addresses and email addresses, as well as their parents' names and email addresses, to Dara Galtman at by Friday, Nov. 17. 

The price per student, which helps us offset the costs of creating and sending the packets, depends on your congregation's dues level:

  • Enter: $36
  • Engage: $18
  • Invest: $9

These costs include both the Hanukkah and Passover packages for each student.  If we receive lists from you, we’ll send an invoice for the associated cost in mid-December. 

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

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:

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. 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. 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 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, both individually and collectively, is an essential path to personal renewal. 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.

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 since October, either alone or jointly with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association:

Joint Filing Opposing Anti-LGBTQ Religious Exemptions in Supreme Court Case
National Jewish Letter on DREAM Act

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

Upcoming Programs

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

This year's Plenum agenda includes voting on the June 2017 Board of Governors, the new chair of the Plenum and the lay leaders for the Joint Israel Commission. Click here to view the full agenda and documents to review before Plenum.

Recon Communities and Leaders in the News

Claim Your Spot on Jewish Atlanta’s Front Porch (Atlanta Jewish Times): McKenzie Wren, vice president of Congregation Bet Haverim, writes about creating Jewish communities that serve people with diverse needs and experiences.

Rally Provides Impetus for Synagogue Course on Changing Anti-Semitism (Jewish Exponent): Rabbi Avi Winokur, RRC '91, started a highly successful class on anti-Semitism in the wake of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va.

How to Avoid Startup Crash and Burn (Jeducation World): Cyd Weissman, RRC/JRC's Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Impact, discusses a crucial strategy for entrepreneurial success: start with something that already works and apply it in a brand-new way. 

West Roxbury houses of worship part of faith-based conversation on race in Boston (Wicked Local Roslindale): Rabbi Barbara Penzner, RRC '87, brought a Reconstructionist Jewish perspective to a community gathering focused on racial justice. 

Tikkun Olam on Steroids (The Jewish Week Media Group): Rabbi Joy Levitt, RRC '81, executive director of JCC Manhattan, created the Joseph Stern Center for Social Responsibility in order to work towards repairing the world. 

Married Rabbis Lead Oseh Shalom (The Baltimore Sun): Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde, RRC '09, and Rabbi Josh Jacobs-Velde, RRC '11, share the pulpit of Oseh Shalom. 

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

RRC Community

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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