On the eve of 5775, more than 50 Jewish thought leaders and communal activists from around the country gathered at a retreat near Baltimore last week for 48 hours to talk about whatever was on their mind. Not surprisingly, their frank discussions covered a wide range of themes and interests. But bottom-line, the common thread was a deep concern about Jewish unity — more precisely, the lack of it — over the policies of the State of Israel, and the denominational divides that underscore the dearth of religious and communal leadership at home.
At the JW's annual Conversation, unlikely connections emerge.
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One of the unintended highlights of this year’s Conversation — the annual Jewish Week-sponsored two-day retreat for a wide variety of Jewish leaders and future leaders from around the country — was the emerging friendship between two participants with seemingly little in common besides their names. Actually, their name.
From noon this past Sunday to noon Tuesday forty-eight hours later, I was privileged to participate in a program called “The Conversation,” held in the lovely Pearlstone Conference Center just outside of Baltimore. Sponsored by The Jewish Week and made possible through the generous support of UJA-Federation, the program brought together some fifty Jews active in one way or other in the Jewish community of New York for what seemed like an odd purpose- to talk to one another.
When young Jewish leaders form their own start-up groups and/or prayer services, are they rejecting the organized community, or seeking to strengthen it?
That was one of the recurring questions that emerged earlier this month at The Conversation, the two-day annual retreat sponsored by The Jewish Week for a cross-section of 50 Jewish leaders and emerging leaders from around the country.