Month: April 2013

Introducing the Journal

We intend to express religious identity outside of the sanctuary, to connect our souls and our soles, and to reclaim the proposition that a religious leader needs to be three dimensional—working on a relationship with God, with people and with self.

Cincinnati: A Communal Jewish Service-Learning Model

Funders are often asked to describe how they set priorities and what motivates them to invest in particular programs in certain moments in time. During the formative years of what is proving to be a new epoch in the history of The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, one in which we have taken on the responsibility of stewarding significantly enhanced resources,…

Fieldwork Brings Classwork to Life

Beneath my dread of all of the practical instruction on how to be a rabbi is a belief that, until very recently, I held with great conviction: the nuts and bolts of being a successful rabbi can only be learned over the course of the rabbinate, not within the walls of HUC.

The Evolution of Sacred Service

The launch of an online journal dedicated to the training of rabbis towards 21st century communal leadership through religious service-learning is cause for celebration. Its emergence in the first institution of rabbinic education in the western hemisphere, here in Cincinnati, Ohio, says much about our College-Institute. Most importantly, it reflects an ongoing commitment to the original mission of our pioneering…

Learning Is A Two-Way Street

“Would you be willing to have a student intern?” “I really would love to have you as a mentor, would you consider it?” “Could my son/daughter/sister/friend spend a few days and shadow you and some of your staff?” There is no shortage of requests for experience, information or guidance as individuals of all ages try to find their career paths.…

Gems of Insight in the Dementia Ward

So often, we relegate the old and infirm to the land of death and dying, long before they are actually dead. The residents I see every week complain that they used to feel left behind, under-appreciated and forgotten by the outside world.

What Makes an Organization Jewish?

What special expectations should there be of an organization when “Jewish” is a qualifier? What demands should there be on the leaders of such Jewish organizations to fulfill these expectations? As I have learned about Jewish Family Service (JFS) through my service-learning fieldwork there, I have wondered how a leader or group of leaders integrates a moral principle into the…

Rabbi as Friend

With a bright smile on her face, she simply said, “I was crying because I was so happy. I have never been so excited about being Jewish as when we were learning together.

The Medium Is the Message

Many young, engaged Jews want justice to be a well-integrated part of our Jewish communities and identities. At the same time, we can’t talk about justice and pursue justice for other communities without observing the injustices we perpetuate in our own community. The medium is the message. In the area of gender, do we ensure that our system supports women…

Jewish Service: Is It Worth It?

Periodically, I have the joy and privilege of leading services at Adat Shalom in Bethesda, MD. I am the founding rabbi of the congregation and on most shabbatot I am “in the pews” (even though we have individual seats and not pews). But when I conduct services it is also my prerogative to frame the Torah discussion. On a recent shabbat there…

People Discuss Problems, Leaders Take Action

True leaders leave behind legacies. If we want to know which traits we should develop and look for in future Jewish leaders, we need only to look to our past. Much of what shapes a leader is the lives they led. Experiences lead to the creation of a leader. Leadership is not something that can be passed on, it is…

A Judaism that Matters: Creating Integrated Service Learning Communities

This article suggests that integrating Jewish texts and practice into Jewish service-learning (JSL) programs deepens and enriches the experience of participants during the program itself, while also providing participants with the tools and inspiration to continue to develop their Jewish, service, and justice identities. Drawing from examples from JSL programs, this article describes models for integrating Jewish texts and practice…