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PEARL Sessions 2013

The 2013 PEARL call season has now concluded. Thank you to all who participated on our calls.
 
Having the Hard Conversations About Israel 
Monday, February 4

Managing Money and Mitzvot: Congregational Budgets, Dues and Fundraising
Call for smaller congregations: Wednesday, February 13
Call for larger congregations: Thursday February 21

Jewish Education Programs for the Future
Monday, February 25

Innovations in Jewish Education
Monday, March 18

Tikkun Olam Series: Citizen Action on Climate Change
Wednesday, April 3

Tikkun Olam Series: Curbing Gun Violence
Wednesday, April 17

Growing Congregational Membership
Thursday, April 18

Tikkun Olam Series: Poverty
Tuesday, April 23

Tikkun Olam Series: Immigration Reform Policy
Monday, May 6


A Systems Approach to Evaluation
Call for congregations with full time rabbis: Monday, May 6th
Call for congregations with part time rabbis: Tuesday, May 7th


 

PEARL calls

 

Having the Hard Conversations About Israel
Monday, February 4
At noon Eastern time

Host: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, director, Social Justice Organizing Program at RRC
Guest speaker: Cherie Brown, executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), instructor of practical rabbinics at RRC)


The American Jewish consensus on Israel is no longer as solid as it once was. People hold different opinions about the Palestinian conflict, about internal Israeli politics, and about the role of religion in the Jewish State--not to mention divergent ideas about how North American Jewry should relate to the State of Israel. Open and frank conversations can be difficult.

Cherie R. Brown is founder and executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI), a Washington, DC-based nonprofit leadership training organization. In 13 years, she has built NCBI into one of the leading diversity training and grassroots leadership organizations. NCBI has trained more than 10,000 people in cities and corporations and on college campuses around the world. Brown has appeared on national television, and NCBI has been recognized by the federal government as a national leader in education about racism.


Listen to the MP3 of this call


Managing Money and Mitzvot: Congregational Budgets, Dues and Fundraising

Session one, for smaller congregations:
Wednesday, February 13
At 1 p.m. Eastern time

Session two, for larger congregations:
Thursday, February 21
At 1 p.m. Eastern time



Host: Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman
Guest speaker: Rabbi David Teutsch, Ph.D., Louis and Myra Wiener Professor of Contemporary Jewish Civilization and director, Levin-Lieber Program in Jewish Ethics

How do congregations make good financial decisions from a Jewish values-based perspective? We will focus on best practices for fiscal health, a variety of membership/dues structures, and fundraising ideas. Learn how a Reconstructionist approach will help you link the annual budget process to your congregation’s mission, objectives and values. We encourage you to submit questions ahead of time to jlitman@rrc.edu.

Please note: The February 13 call is geared to smaller congregations with no rabbinical staff; the February 21 call is geared to larger congregations with rabbinical staff. However all are welcome to attend either call.

Listen to the MP3 of this call


Jewish Education Programs for the Future
Monday, February 25
At 8 p.m. Eastern time


Hosts: Rabbi Fredi Cooper, Jackie Land, and Rabbi Henry Shreibman, Ph.D.
Guest speaker: Rabbi Joy Levitt, Executive Director of the JCC in Manhattan


This seminar will share innovative educational programs and strategies for reconstructing Jewish education. Guest speaker Rabbi Joy Levitt will speak about her Collaborative Jewish Journeys Project pilot program in New York City. Learn new ways to broaden Jewish learning and deepen Jewish living by providing experiences that involve the individual, the family, and the synagogue outside of a classroom.
This call will be a chance for participants to share their experiences with building Jewish educational programs, ask questions, and plan for future innovation.

Appropriate for all congregational education leadership, including teachers, educational directors, board members and rabbis.


Listen to the MP3 of this call



Innovations in Jewish Education
Monday, March 18

At 8 p.m. Eastern time

Hosts: Rabbi Fredi Cooper, Jackie Land, and Rabbi Henry Shreibman, Ph.D.

This seminar will focus on alternative b’nai mitzvah-year programming and other informal educational programs. Learn new ways to broaden Jewish learning and deepen Jewish living by planning experiences that involve the individual, the family, and the synagogue outside of a classroom.

This call will be a chance for participants to share their experiences in building Jewish educational programs, ask questions, and plan for future innovations. It will be appropriate for all educational leadership within congregations, including teachers, educational directors, board members and rabbis.

Listen to the MP3 of this call
 



Tikkun Olam Series: Citizen Action on Climate Change
Wednesday, April 3
At 1 p.m. Eastern time

Host: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Guest speaker: Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby


Mark Reynolds is a globally recognized expert on bringing citizens and elected officials together to find common ground on energy, environment and public policy. Citizens Climate Lobby is a fast growing United States-based grassroots advocacy organization.


Listen to the MP3 of this call


Tikkun Olam Series: Curbing Gun Violence
Wednesday, April 17
At 1 p.m. Eastern time


Host: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Guest speaker: Jared Feldman, vice president and Washington director for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs


Listen to the MP3 of this call
 


Growing Congregational Membership
Thursday, April 18
At noon Eastern time


Host: Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman
Guest speakers will include the past president, membership chair and spiritual leader of Congregation Ner Shalom in Cotati, CA.

Planned membership campaigns can work! Join Shari Brenner, Reb Irwin Keller and Barbara McCaffrey - the past president, spiritual leader and membership chair - of Congregation Ner Shalom, which has grown from 36 to 92 member households in the past four years. Learn about the steps of successful outreach and how to create a welcoming feeling for potential new members.


Barbara Lesch McCaffry has a doctorate in Contemporary British and American Poetry and recently retired from Sonoma State University, where she initially served as Director of Affirmative Action and Faculty Affairs and then as a professor in an interdisciplinary program at the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies. Since 2000, she has been actively involved in Holocaust and genocide education at Sonoma State and through leadership roles in its Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide. She has been a member of Congregation Ner Shalom since 1986, and served on its board since 2008 (prior to that she served as a consultant to the board and on the personnel committee). She was the board president from 2008-2010 and treasurer from 2010-2012. Since 2008, she has been actively involved in membership development and is currently the membership chair.

Shari Brenner has a Masters in Public Health and has worked in healthcare, primarily HIV prevention and services, for over 25 years. She is currently the administrator of a large community health center that provides primary care services in the impoverished Latino neighborhood of Southwest Santa Rosa. She has been a member of Ner Shalom since 2005, and active in Dor Hadash—Ner Shalom's religious school—since 2006. She served on the board of Ner Shalom from 2008-2012. She served as vice president from 2008-2010, and president from 2010-2012. Her favorite things to do, whether in a health care setting or a Reconstructionist synagogue, are strategic planning and continuous quality improvement.

Reb Irwin Keller has been Ner Shalom's Spiritual Leader since 2008. A former lawyer and LGBTQ rights activist, Reb Irwin is also a founder of and performer in The Kinsey Sicks, known as "America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet." This has given Ner Shalom a stamp of being decisively alternative, which has been meaningful for the congregation's growth. Reb Irwin is trained in the Storahtelling® method, and has used it to invigorate Torah ritual at Ner Shalom. His challenging, humorous and unorthodox sermons can be read on his blog, Itzik's Well.
 

Listen to the MP3 of this call

 


Tikkun Olam Series: Poverty
Tuesday, April 23
At 3 p.m. Eastern time


Host: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Guest speakers: Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; and Robin Rosenbaum, program manager, Confronting Poverty


Listen to the MP3 of this call



Tikkun Olam Series: Immigration Reform Policy
Monday, May 6
At 1 p.m. Eastern time


Host: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Guest speakers:
Melanie Nezer, Senior Director, US Policy and Advocacy, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

Melanie Nezer
Melanie Nezer is Senior Director for U.S. Policy & Advocacy for HIAS. Ms. Nezer directs HIAS’ Washington, DC office and coordinates with HIAS’ immigration and refugee services department.  Ms. Nezer is actively involved with education and advocacy on immigration, asylum, and refugee protection issues. She is the current Chair of Refugee Council USA's Advocacy Committee.

In her previous role at HIAS, Ms. Nezer was Migration Policy Counsel and Director of the Employment Visa Program, representing at-risk Jewish professionals and religious workers seeking to work in the U.S. during times of instability and crisis in their home countries. Before joining HIAS, Ms. Nezer was the Immigration Policy Director for the organization now known as US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), where in addition to conducting advocacy on immigration and asylum issues, she was co-editor of Refugee Reports and a writer for the annual World Refugee Survey. Prior to her work in Washington, Ms. Nezer was in private practice in Miami, Florida, where she specialized in immigration law and criminal defense. Ms. Nezer obtained her law degree from Boston College Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Listen to the MP3 of this call


A Systems Approach to Evaluation
Call for congregations with full time rabbis: Monday, May 6th
At 8 p.m. Eastern time

Call for congregations with part time rabbis: Tuesday, May 7th
At 8 p.m. Eastern time

Host: Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president, RRC
Guest speaker: Rabbi Richard Hirsh, executive director, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

“As applied to synagogue life, a systems approach sees the totality of the congregational system along with the interaction of the component parts, rather than looking only at individual roles or functions.”            
- The Rabbi-Congregation Relationship, 2008
 
Using systems theory as a basis, this session will discuss some of the processes and structures that can be used to conduct effective evaluations. Rather than “evaluating the rabbi,” a systems approach to evaluation can reveal where the strengths and weaknesses lie within a congregational system. Ideally, this approach enables the rabbi and the members of the congregation to work together more effectively to address whatever challenges a congregation may face.

The following documents will be referenced in this call:
- Making Pastoral Evaluation Worthwhile
- Frequently Asked Questions About Rabbinic Evaluation
- An excerpt from The Rabbi-Congregation Relationship

 

Listen to the MP3 of the call for congregations with full time rabbis

Listen to the MP3 of the call for congregations with part time rabbis