23 March 2011

We live in exciting times.... hopefully a blessing for the Reform Movement

Mazal tov and chazak v'ameitz (strength and courage) to Rabbi Rick Jacobs of Westchester Reform Temple, who was officially nominated yesterday to be the next president of the Union for Reform Judaism.  Rick is a gifted and creative rabbi - of one of the original ECE congregations; passionate for social justice - a long-time board member of the American Jewish World Service; and a visionary leader - a former board member of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and Synagogue3000.  (Not to mention his time with the Avodah Dance Ensemble)  It will not be an easy job.  I hope that he takes radical steps to re-orient the Reform movement's congregational arm to be a bottom-up, congregant-driven, and congregationally responsive organization.

On the challenges that await, Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College, published an interesting Op-Ed in the Forward this week.  Here's a quote about their not being any "magic bullets" and how any solutions need to be fairly sophisticated and nuanced:

Here we must recognize that Judaism is an adult religion. We must acknowledge that the complexity and plurality that mark modern life do not allow for simple answers to multivalent and textured problems. Indeed, I harbor no illusions that there are any quick fixes to the problems that confront North American Judaism.

Chazak, chazak, v'nitchazeik

These three words are traditionally recited when finishing the reading of one book of the Torah. "Strength, strength and may you be strengthened", as we finish one chapter of American Reform Judaism and move on to the next.

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