On Sunday through Thursday of this week, hundreds of my colleagues in the Rabbinical Assembly and I gathered at our international convention, held this year in Las Vegas. The Rabbinical Assembly is the professional organization of Conservative rabbis around the world. In addition to my work as the rabbi of The Forest Hills Jewish Center, I currently serve as the RA's Vice-President, and am slated to assume the Presidency in another year.
Since the beginning of January, I have been on a tour of North America and have seen over 400 Conservative rabbis face-to-face or conducted extensive phone interviews with them.
What am I looking for?
I have been reaching out to my colleagues with the question: “As a rabbi, what are you trying to accomplish in your community? How does your Torah inspire your community to bring change in their lives and the world?” In the aggregate, their stories are a lens on the Conservative movement today.
Shortly after my vacation this past summer in California, I wrote a piece for this column about California and its charms. Having slowly and lovingly driven the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I lamented how coming back to New York City- which I admittedly love- was not so easy. Concrete jungle and all that….
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld spent a few days around fishermen near the Gulf of Mexico last week and thought of the Israelites in the Sinai Desert.
Rabbi Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, was part of a 12-member, interfaith clergy group that toured the Gulf Coast area for 2½ days under the auspices of the Sierra Club and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.