Monday, November 13, 2006

A Recon Moment

The day after the election I trekked over to a Philadelphia hotel to participate in my first jrf board meeting since being invited to join that body a couple months back. They are beginning to become more serious about thinking through the changes necessary for the movement to be relevant for folks in their 20s and 30s. In that context they asked me to come on board and consider, with them, some of those issues. I accepted the invitation for a few reasons:
  • with a long history at the forefront of jewish innovation (think bat mitzvahs, jewish community centers, first modern use of "havurot", first female head of the rabbinical associations, first (and second) queer dean of rabbinical school, etc) reconstructionists tend to embrace new models.
  • reconstructionist ideology is at it's core pluralistic and as such is the best existing denominational model for contemporary jewish life. By way of example, the movement accepted a resolution in the 1980s committing it to transdenominationalism.
  • the movement has had a major role in fostering havurot for many years and was critical in the inception of the NHC.
  • The leaders are for the most part committed to progressive social and economic change and most share my values.
On the opening night of the Recon biennial convention, the fellow welcoming us to PA, called it the "Quaker state" and several other nicknames before calling it the state that recently sent Rick Santorum to an early retirement. When he said this, the room, full of folks of all ages--teen leaders to very elderly--erupted. People jumped to their feat and pumped their fists. It was delightful to be among brothers and sisters, in a jewish context, of all ages, who shared our commitment to progressive politics (or at least our vitriol for rick santorum).

As i work on the project of imagining how recons can build partnerships with younger folks, i will need your guys' help. What are areas for fruitful collaboration?


At 11/14/2006 , Blogger Sam said...

We've chatted about this before, but I thing a big issue is access in urban areas. I live in LA and if I want to go to a recon schul I need to trek all the way to the Pacific Palisades (where the average income is a tad higher than where I live, to say the least). It would be great if congregations could use their resources to help foster community all of the city instead of just in their area.

At 11/14/2006 , Blogger BZ said...

Yasher koach on your election to the board! Are you currently involved with anything Recon-affiliated (other than the JRF board)? If not, then an even bigger yasher koach to the Recon movement for thinking about its expats (unlike certain other movements starting with R).

At 11/17/2006 , Blogger ZT said...

sam--your point is a phenomenal one. i am hoping to get some folks to look into creating urban satelite communities.

bz--my last formal invovlement was with the jrf camp that i helped start but that was several years ago. hopefully the URJ will get you on the board soon, you'd be amazing!


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