A movement looking to the future finds some rabbinical role models in its own synagogues.
Special To The Jewish Week
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We can complain about the shrinking of the Conservative movement. And we can take pride in Conservative successes of the past. But if what we have been doing until now is not sufficient for the future, what can we change?
"Russell Stone is a rabbi at a poor synagogue in New York City. He is a devout man with a problem. Membership is way down and he lacks the funds to keep his synagogue open. Things are looking very bleak, and he has grown progressively more cynical and bitter with the passage of time. Just as he is on the verge of packing it all in, he receives some interesting news. A former member of his congregation has died and left the rabbi a significant amount of money. A blessing? Or the start of something far more sinister? Can Rabbi Stone just accept the money and move on? His conscience says no. Step into his shoes as he travels all over Manhattan in his attempt to uncover the truth."
As a doctoral candidate in developmental psychology doing research on Jewish parents of children with autism, I have found that many mothers and fathers interpret their child’s diagnosis in relation to God.
As I write this, I am winging my way back from California- Camp Ramah in Ojai, California to be exact- and three days of a rabbinic retreat called "Beit Midrash in the Hills." The program was sponsored by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, part of the American Jewish University of Los Angeles, in partnership with the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization of Conservative rabbis, which I currently serve as president.
Harlan Wechsler, founding rabbi of the intentionally small Or Zarua, plans for an active retirement.
After a dozen years on the rabbinical staff of a major Manhattan synagogue, Rabbi Harlan Wechsler had no doubt what his first activity would be when he founded his own, smaller, congregation 23 years ago.
Teach a Talmud class.
He chose Sukkah, a tractate about the laws and mechanics of the harvest festival.
Like many American rabbis who relocate to Israel on aliyah, Rabbi Naftali "Tuly" Weisz began to look for a way to make a difference in the Holy Land. The 30-something Modern Orthodox rabbi had already made some significant relationships with the Israel-loving Evangelical Christian community in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.
I've written on this blog about Jewish weddings and other Jewish life cycle events that have welcomed Skype technology. The newest way to bring loved ones from far way into the simcha is through an iPad or other tablet device.