Sunday, May 29, 2011

[Shefa] CJ Magazine Out This Week!


There are many wonderful articles and features in the brand new issue of CJ. Here is a quick glimpse with some suggestions for discussions with friends and programming in your community.

Schechter Rabbinical Seminary Associate Dean, Rabbi Shlomo Tucker shares his experience at the Brit Milah for his first grandson that took place in Israel. "Blessings in Jerusalem" highlights some of the similarities and differences in this most basic ceremony of Jewish life. What memories can you share of britot that in your family?

Bonnie Riva Ras tells of fulfilling a lifelong dream of making Aliyah to Israel in "Dancing at the Kotel". She offers a first hand view of the challenges facing women in particular in today's Jerusalem. How much do you know about the status of the non-orthodox in Israel? Of our Rabbis, conversions and women's rights? This article is a perfect vehicle for discussion and for further study by your community.

Mercaz President Janet Tobin shows us how, as Conservative/Masorti Jews we can be more assertive in our demands for equal treatment. Does your synagogue have an active Mercaz program? Mercaz Membership Matters!

Highlighting the key role that Masorti/Conservative Judaism plays all across the globe, Rabbi Richard Hammerman tells of his visit to San Jose, Costa Rica in "Shabbat in Gan Eden". Share his "Kodak moments" and join him as he takes part in the World Wide Wrap. While in San Jose, he was also connected by computer to Masorti congregations in Mexico, Panama and Florida, all davening with tefillin.

Speaking of tefillin, you probably remember the incident in March were an Alaska Airlines plane from Mexico was boarded by TSA personnel because of the "suspicious behavior" of three passengers. What was this behavior? These orthodox men were davening with tefillin during the flight. What was your reaction? What does Jewish law say about this? In the latest installment in the Halachah in the Modern World series, Rabbis Aaron Alexander and Daniel Greyber offer a brilliant analysis in "Tefillin on a Plane". What do you think?

Janice Kamenir-Reznik inspires us in "Building Dedicated Activists" describing the process of how young men and women heard the call to conscience and mobilized in the fight to end genocide. What programs for youth activism are available in your community?

Jewish communities come in all sizes and varieties. Thirteen-year-old Sarah Greenberg tells of "Growing Up Jewish" in a small Maryland town. How can we support each other in strengthening Jewish identity?

"USY became my social home, and as a result, Judaism became increasingly intertwined with my sense of self," writes Rachel Pomerance in "Finally Being Me". What experiences shaped YOUR Jewish identity?

There are three wonderful articles about enhancing the Shabbat synagogue experience for young families. Sue Cowen writes about her own experiences in "Absorbing Shabbat: Bringing Young Children to Shul" and Julie Wohl (who designed the beautiful cover of this issue) describes the journey to developing Siddur Ma Tov, in "How Wonderful: A Visual Siddur for a New Generation". Naomi Danis brings us along on the journey as she developed "It's Tot Shabbat" a picture book for young children in "Sometimes We Say Hello".

A different challenge is posed by Daniel Handwerker in "What I Want for my Children's Education". He shares his quandary of choosing between Jewish Day School and his synagogue's after school religious school. He wonders if there is another option. What options exist in your community?

Elisabeth Kesten tells of her journey from a child of devout Protestants in Germany to her conversion and choice to practice as a committed conservative Jew in "From Protestant to Sort-of-Jew to Fully Engaged Conservative Jew". It makes engrossing reading and makes us ask ourselves about who we are and about our own Jewish identity. Compelling reading!

Reformed stutterer and now Director United Synagogue's Metropolitan New York district, Rabbi Charles Savenor talks about the challenge of stuttering in "The Healing Power of `The King's Speech'".

Just when you needed a little refreshment comes a terrific recipe for "Chicken Mojito in the Summertime" from Joe Kessler-Godin.

Rabbi Leonard Gordon represented our movement at an "Interfaith Conference in Paris" and tells about the importance of having a place for Conservative Judaism at these tables.

Rabbi Michael Katz asks, "what is supposed to happen when we pray? What are we supposed to do? What are we supposed to feel…?" In "Praying in the Water" he offers one experience. What do YOU feel when you pray?

Noah Golinkin, Jerry Lipnick and Buddy Sachs were young rabbinical students when news of the details of Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jewish community was making its way into the daily newspapers. In "The Student Struggle Against the Holocaust" Rabbi David Golinkin tells the story of how the bravery and activism of these young students were able to mobilize pubic opinion. What are the issues that capture the imagination of today's youth? Do they still feel that THEY can make a difference?

Other thought provoking columns include an excerpt of FJMC's Rabbi Charles Simon's seminal paper "The Status of Men in Our Movement", USCJ President Richard Skolnik's "Community+Spirituality=Kehillot", Women's League President Rita Wertlieb's "Make Women's League Your Mission", Illene Schaeffer Rubin's "For the Love of a Good Book" and Women's League Executive Director Sarrae Crane's exploration of "Civil Discourse in a Kehillah Kedoshah".

Joanne Palmer takes us through the process of the development of "United Synagogue's Strategic Plan". FJMC news includes short features on the new online blog "Mentschen has a New Look", a focus on "The Unraveller" and a ride with "Next Stop for Tour De Shuls: FJMC Convention in Surf City".

Finally, we are stimulated by our teacher Rabbi Neil Gillman with new books "In the Bookshelf"

As you can see there is ample material for discussion study and action in this issue of CJ Magazine! Enjoy the summer.

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