The Tachlis of Welcoming and Empowering Interfaith Families and Couples in our Communities
In this workshop we will be sharing resource materials from InterfaithFamily, discussing best practices and brainstorming ideas of how to best welcome and empower the interfaith families and couples in your communities.
Mychal Copeland (RRC 2000) is Director of InterfaithFamily/Bay Area and Malka Packer (RRC 2014) is Director of InterfaithFamily/Atlanta.
Connecting Virtually and Face-to-Face
The ever-evolving Jewish community challenges us as rabbis to meet people where they are in their lives, help people to make discoveries about themselves and their place in society, and maybe even find their connection to God. I fell in love with Judaism and converted in the 21st century. I am also a queer Jew of color. Even though I am part of the mainstream of Judaism, I am also someone who sits on the margins and often seen as an outsider. I say this because I believe it gives me an interesting perspective on Judaism and on being a rabbi that others may not share. My vision as an emerging rabbi is to find ways to connect with Jews who do not feel welcomed in mainstream Jewish institutions. I want to meet people where they are in their lives and create sacred spaces outside the boundaries of synagogues. This workshop will challenge us to think more broadly about how to use our skills to connect with people and how to effectively use technology to bring our Torah to a wider audience.
Sandra Lawson is a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She sees herself as a 21st century Rabbi-to-Be, connecting with people through music and technology.
Is Pluralism Possible?
As we think about Jewish Peoplehood, we must grapple with vast differences in practice, perspective and politics that divides Jewish communities today. Some of us face the challenge of working in and building communities that aspire to be pluralistic, encompassing and endeavoring to meet the needs of Jews who may disagree deeply with one another. (How) Can we build truly pluralistic communities and still hold on to our Reconstructionist values? What are the compromises we must make for the sake of Klal Yisrael? Using case studies and educational materials from Hillel, we will explore challenges, opportunities, and best practices for Jewish Pluralism.
Jessica Lott (RRC 2012) is Interim Director of the Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience at Hillel International.
Spiritual Care Approaches to Sharing Peoplehood with Isolated, Institutionalized, and Homebound Jews
When a rabbi and an isolated individual meet in an otherwise bleak landscape, our communal or tribal membership can be a source of subtle yet profound comfort, even if the shared ties or in-group/member identification are not immediately evident. This workshop will explore a variety of frameworks and tools – drawing on our own and another person’s understandings of global, historical, mythical, and intergenerational peoplehood, on core spiritual care practices, and on potent Jewish symbolism, language and liturgy – to discern, affirm, and amplify a person’s potential sense of connection and strength arising from Belonging.
Natan Fenner (RRC 1997) is a Board Certified Chaplain through the NAJC, and has been a spiritual care provider at the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center for 16 years.
Recognizing How Race Matters in the Rabbinate
This workshop will support participants to consider why conversations about race are hard--and why they are important--in the Reconstructionist Jewish community. The facilitator is White and Jewish, and will share stories from her life and research.
Ali Michael, Ph.D., is the Director of K-12 Consulting and Professional Development at the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the Race Institute for K-12 Educators.
Being Advocates and Allies for People with Disabilities
At a moment when the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is at risk, when funding for Medicaid is likely to change, and when even the Americans with Disabilities Act is not off-limits, our communities have the opportunity to be inclusive and welcoming spaces for people with disabilities and their families. In this workshop, we will discuss the ways we can serve as allies and advocates for people with disabilities both within our Jewish communities and in the world around us. We will use texts and case studies to address the Jewish imperative to create welcoming communities, even when there is no legal imperative.
Michelle Greenfield (RRC 2012) leads groups for adults with disabilities, is a chaplain and congregational education director, and is a consultant for the Whole Community Inclusion program at Jewish Learning Venture.
Cultivating A Sense of Belonging from the Inside
As leaders we aspire to create safe space, to embrace those who might feel marginal, to be inclusive and welcoming. We all yearn for this sense of belonging. Yet, what if the source of a true sense of belonging is found inside us? If we can’t find it within, then no amount of outside welcoming will really matter. And if we do find it inside us, then every place in the world will feel welcoming, and we will know ourselves as integral to every space. In this workshop we will explore the question of how we can cultivate an inner sense of belonging and heal the wounds that keep us separate.
Shefa Gold (RRC 1996) teaches workshops and retreats on the theory and art of Chanting, Devotional Healing, Spiritual Community-Building and Meditation.
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