Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shana Tova! All your latest news from MasortiUK

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noam summer 2013

Noam Summer Camp 2013 a massive success!

With over 200 young people involved in 5 camps in both Wales and France, Noamnikim enjoyed a summer full of creativity, engaging education and a chance to meet new friends for life.

Camp is a chance to push boundaries and create experiences that will last for a lifetime. The success of the camps was down to our phenomenal Madrichim and Roshim who ensured that everyone involved felt part of another amazing Noam Summer.

"Summer 2013 was a truly rewarding experience for all of us involved in making it happen. The Noamnikim enjoyed themselves and had a great time both doing fun activities and engaging in some meaningful educational events too! Bring on the next Camp!", says Sam Schryer, Mazkir, Noam.

This year, we are celebrating 25 years of Noam and we all hope that the magical memories of Camp can be replicated for many years to come.

Thanks to everyone who attended!

kelim 2013 1a

Kelim class of 2013

Kelim 2013 - a never to be forgotten experience!

This years Kelim programme took 9 UK students to study at the Conservative Yeshiva, Jerusalem.

Students on Kelim 2013 enjoyed 3 weeks studying at the Yeshiva, immersed in its summer course and 1 week processing the experience together.

They also journeying through the 4 main areas which make up Jerusalem's identity, accompanied by key Jewish texts, experiencing Israeli life and culture.

The Kelim participants lived together in a communal flat for the 4 weeks, which enabled a strong group dynamic and support to be formed.

The majority of the group had been participants of Noam's gap year programme in Israel – Drachim, the previous year. Kelim is a natural progression in developing their connection to their Jewish identity, this time focusing on academia - their ability to grapple with Jewish texts, learn Hebrew and develop their skills in prayer.

A large percentage of the group also attend universities with very few Jewish students, which limits their ability to practice and further their Jewish education. Kelim provides them with this amazing opportunity of a once in a lifetime experience.

kelim 2013 2

Kelim - studying at the Conservative Yeshiva


Click to book

Your Timetable:

09.45-10.15 - Registration

10.15-11.00 - Introduction & Welcome from Clive Sheldon QC, Co Chair, Masorti Judaism & Liz Oppedijk

Keynote: Michael Wegier, UJIA Chief Executive - What is a Jewish Leader?

Select from 5 sessions in three different time slots:

Rabbi Jeremy Gordon – Purpose Driven Synagogue

Matt Plen – Power, Relationships, Strategy: How to Get Things Done

Andy Zneimer – How to Woo the Press: On Getting Editorial

Masorti Europe Board Meeting

Chazan Jacky Chernett, Chazan Jason Green & Laurence Jacobs – Music of the Soul: Engaging our Communities in Prayer

Rabbi Joel Levy – Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

Dina Ben Ezra – Group Dynamics & Communication (in French)

Miriam Benchetrit – Developing a Strategy for Local Fundraising

Stephen Ross – We're All in This Together: Rabbis, Professionals and Lay Leaders

David Leigh – Increase Your Impact: Getting the Most Out of Your Community Leadership

Rabbi Chaim Weiner – The Answers Rabbis Give to Rabbis

Phil Austin – Does Change Have to Be Painful?

Jason Caplin – Social Media & How to Harness Its Power

Charlotte Fischer – Developing Volunteer Leaders

Nick Gendler – What is Coaching and What is Your Coaching Style?

16.15-17.00 - Final Panel Session
This session will include a panel of guest speakers from Israel who will discuss the challenges of Zionism, Aliyah and leadership within the Masorti movement.

Copy this link into your browser to book:

Cost £20 (includes lunch and tea) - £10 low income concessions

Registration closes Monday 30 September 2013

Contact for more information

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Click to book


For more information click here

Can you help Jewish Genetic Disorders UK (JGD UK)?

JGD UK is a charity that works to improve the awareness, diagnosis and management of Jewish genetic disorders.

We are holding an education event at NNLS on 14 November 2013 to inform and raise awareness for the first ever community screening day.

The screening session will allow people to come and get genetic testing for 9 severe Jewish genetic disorders. To offer the screening effectively we need to raise awareness about the relevance and importance of genetic testing in the community, and hope to do this through our education event on the 14th Nov.

Please come along and tell everyone you know about this important charity and this key event.

Postal Address: Jewish Genetic Disorders UK
PO Box 65520
N3 9BU
Telephone: 020 8123 5022

For more information about the charity please see our website

Thank you.

©2013 Masorti Judaism | Alexander House. 3 Shakespeare Road. London N3 1XE   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Craig Taubman Takes on Wilshire Blvd. Temple Critics

Craig Taubman
A heated Facebook debate has broken out over whether the $120 - $150 million rennovation of Wilshire Blvd. Temple in Los Angeles is worth it.
A front page New York Times story on the campaign led by Rabbi Steve Leder to restore the grand synagogue in L.A.'s Koreatown neighborhood and turn its adjacent property into a community social service center promped Rabbi Charlie Savenor, director of congregational enrichment at the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism, to post a criticism on his Facebook page.
"Intriguing article about a synagogue facelift," Savenor wrote.  "While I respect their leadership's conviction and sense of purpose, $150 million can buy a lot of Shabbat dinners and hire an army of engagement/outreach professionals. What do you think?"
Dozens of Rabbi Savenor's Facebook friends weighed in, most of them equally critical of the project.
That prompted Craig Taubman, the Los Angeles activist and musician, to send an e-mail to rabbis and other Jewish professionals taking issue with the critics.  Taubman, who requested his message be quoted in full, wrote:
From where I sit in sunny California - reading the critiques of Rabbi Steve Leder’s $150 million project…I read "envy".
From where I sit, I see a visionary man leading his flock,  raising millions and inspiring a community to create a center of healing, hope and promise in the heart of Los Angeles.
From where I sit, I question how people can question whether the money can be used more wisely?

Some other thoughts:

1.  It's his vision and charisma that has motivated his people to pony up. He’s banking on the future and I say Kol Hakavod - all honor to him and his generous trusting flock!

2. The USCJ by it's own admission  “according to a financial audit obtained by JTA, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism reported back-to-back losses of $3 million in 2012 and $2.7 million the previous year” Assuming this information is accurate, the USCJ just might be bankrupt possibly before Wilshire Blvd completes it’s historic build out.

3. If I were an investor in the futures market, I’d bank on Rabbi Leder before the USCJ.  He has a vision of the future and based on his portfolio it seems likely he will be in business for at least another 100 years (Since its founding in 1862 when Abraham Lincoln was President)

4.  From where I still sit in sunny California, while I know the convention planner are working like dogs with nothing but the best intentions, I question the value of the USCJ hosting yet another “conversation of the century" Franky I think it's time we (us, you, me) take action and make gutsy "movement" that informs the future rather then yet another talk about the future.
Why? Because long after the newspaper articles and Facebook critiques have been written and read.  Weeks, months and years after the "conversation of the century" has taken place, Rabbi Leder will have created a model and a foundation that will speak far more loudly than our words.  He will have laid the foundation for his truth based in the conviction of his actions. A truth that reflects his spirit of hope, and his faith in the potential that we all have reverberate today, tomorrow and perhaps even into yet another glorious century.
Talk is cheap.  Ought we not walk the walk?

Craig Taubman

(In sunny California)
Taubman's wasn't the first defense of the grand vision behind the rennovation (see this Jewish Journal column here), but it is definitely, judging by the numbers on Facebook, in the minority.
To quote Rabbi Savenor: What do you think?

The Jewish Journal believes that great community depends on great conversation. So, provides a forum for insightful voices across the political and religious spectrum. Most bloggers are not employees of The Jewish Journal, and their opinions are their own. Our entire blog policy is here. Please alert us to any violations of our policy by clicking here. ( If you'd like to join our blogging community, email us. (

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Multi-Generational Families on Staff at Ramah Camps 2013

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National Ramah Commission, Inc. of The Jewish Theological Seminary 
August 15, 2013
9 Elul 5773
Multi-Generational Families on Staff at Ramah Camps 2013*  

This summer, there were more than 50 families at Ramah camps with both a parent and a child working on staff, sharing a Ramah summer together. There was even one grandparent-parent-child combination! Here they are--some of them even told us that the best part of camp was being together. Enjoy!

*If we've missed any families, please let us know! 
Camp Ramah in Wisconsin
(4 families)     

Nina Harris (Yoetzet) and Jonah Harris (Rosh Nagarut)


Dr. Bob Karasov (Camp Physician) and Matan Karasov (Madrich)


Ralph Schwartz (Director of Special Needs Programs) and Aviva Schwartz (Madricha)

Ralph and Aviva Schwartz
Ralph and Aviva Schwartz

David Sherman (Visiting Photographer) and Caleb Sherman (Rosh Edah) 

Ramah Philadelphia Day Camp
(3 families) 
Sue Ansul (Director) and Liora Segal (Rosh Edah) (see photo in Poconos section)

Michelle Ravitch (Rosh Edah) and Sara Ravitch (Rosh B'recha)
Sara and Michelle Ravitch
Sara and Michelle Ravitch
Nomi Shapiro (Rosh Omanut) and Elijah Ackerman (Madrich)
Nomi Shapiro and Elijah Ackerman
Nomi Shapiro and Elijah Ackerman

Camp Ramah in New England
(3 families)   
Howard Blas and Abigail / Dan Blas
The Blas Family
Dan, Abigail, and Howard Blas
Talya Kalender and Aryeh Kalender
Talya and Aryeh Kalendar
Talya and Aryeh Kalendar
Marcia Glickman and Hannah / Sarah Glickman
Hannah, Marcia, and Sarah Glickman
Hannah, Marcia, and Sarah Glickman
Ramah Darom
(2 families)    
Cathy (Rosh Yahadut) & Fred Berkowitz (Summer Business Manager) and Greg Berkowitz (Assistant Business Manager) / Leah Berkowitz (Madricha)

Amy Wasser (Yoetzet) and Ayala Wasser (Rosh Edah) / Shira Wasser (Madricha)
Amy and Ayala Wasser
Amy and Ayala Wasser
Amy: I have been so fortunate to watch Ayala develop from a chanicha to rosh edah. For 20 summers we have shared our love of Ramah and to see her now leading chanichim of her own is invaluable. Her energy and passion for instilling a love of Judaism and camp in all that she does is a credit to the exceptional experiences she had growing up at Darom. I am so lucky to have shared this with her and look forward to more summers with her and her siblings as we continue to reap the benefits of Ramah.

Ayala: Most people would think having your mom at camp is lame. However, I have learned so much from my mother and see her in a different light. It is rewarding to see how she works with my peers and that she is able to help me develop as a leader in camp. My family has been at Darom together for the past 17 years, so having her here is pretty natural and has enabled us to bring Ramah home. Also, where else would a self-respecting 22-year-old be in a lip sync with her mom?
Camp Ramah in Canada
(3 families)    

Rona & Dan Mink and Ahbra Mink

Marlene Noveck and Yoni Goldstein

Netta Zweig (Yoetzet) and Rachel Goldberg (Rosh Edah)
Amy Goldberg and Netta Zweig
Rachel Goldberg and Netta Zweig

Glenda & Aaron Amit and Shemaiah Amit
The Amit Family
Aaron, Shemaiah, and Glenda Amit 
Jillian Berman (Nurse) and Lauren Berman

Cari Cohen (Yoetzet) and Tali Cohen (Tikvah Educator)
Cari and Tali Cohen
Cari and Tali Cohen
Renee Fineman and Rachel Blatt

Sue Hetsroni and Gil / Sivan Hetsroni

Michele Lavin (Head Nurse) and Jonah / Ari Lavin 
Camp Ramah in the Poconos
(8 families) 
Sharon Bromberg and Yonah Bromberg-Gaber

Harriet Caplan and Shana Caplan

Sarah & Michael Goldberg and Benjy Goldberg

Bruce Lipton & Meryl Sussman and Rachel Lipton

Nava Isseroff and Shani / Oz Isseroff

Elise & Larry McAfoos and Ilana McAfoos

Sue Schwartzman and Mark Schwartzman

segalDr. Sion Segal and Eliana Segal  
Ansul/Segal Family
Sue Ansul, Liora Segal,
Eliana Segal, and Sion Segal
Sion: During the past 15 years, I have watched my daughters grow up at the Ramah Philadelphia Day Camp and Camp Ramah in the Poconos, absorbing the values of Ramah, and embracing its mission as tzevet members. This summer, as camp psychologist, I have the pleasure of working with both Liora, Rosh Cochavim at the Ramah Day Camp, and Eliana, a madricha in Machon at Ramah Poconos. In addition to the "nachas" I experience from seeing the professionalism, dedication, warmth, and insight that they bring to their roles, it is amazing to work with them as members of the same team.
Ramah Day Camp in Nyack 
(16 families)
Multi-Generational Families at Ramah Nyack
Ramah Nyack Multi-Generational Staff Families 
Arlene Cox (Office Staff--grandparent), Ellen Abrams (Rosh Gan--parent), and Mitchell Abrams (CIT--grandchild)

Anat Atzmon (Omanut) and Achsaf Atzmon (EA) / Atad Atzmon (Madrich)

Shari Brodsky (Office Coordinator) and Rachel Brodsky (EA)

Amy Skopp Cooper (Director) and Eitan Cooper (Rosh Edah) / Yoni Cooper (Madrich)
Amy and Yoni Cooper
Amy and Yoni Cooper
Mindy Fischer (Morah) & Adam Teitelbaum (Kitchen Staff) and Daniel Fischer (Migdal)

Rachel Greenwald (Co-Rosh Chinuch) and Hannah Greenwald (Gan)

Pam Greenwood (Rosh Sha'ar) and Liat Greenwood (EA)

Carol Karlin (Ceramics) & Gary Karlin (Security Guard) and Michal Karlin (Gan)

Gerri Kurland (Office Staff) and Ami Kurland (Madrich)

Cindy Levine (Bishul) and Cara Levine (EA)

Liz Marcus (Omanut) and Talia Marcus (EA)

Sharon Rappaport (Yoetzet) and Josh Rappaport (Maintenance)

Tova Shapiro (Morah) and Liav Shapiro (Rosh Edah)

Kim Lori Sokol (Sports Staff) and Dana Sokol (CIT)

Debby Tamir (Rosh Mayim) and Liat Tamir (EA)

Debby: My kids grew up in this camp. We came when they were 2, 5, and 7. They are now 16, 19, and 21. Leadership skills, the ability to work as a team, to make decisions, to have patience and be creative--these are all skills that were cultivated and nurtured here at camp. Skills that stay with them for a lifetime! It doesn't take a village, it takes a camp!

Paula Wolosky (Ceramics) and Ross (Teva) / Samuel Wolosky (Kitchen Staff)
Ramah Day Camp - Chicago Area
(2 families)  
Linda Abrams (Office, Pottery) and Elana Abrams (Bishul, Teva)
Elana and Linda Abrams
Elana and Linda Abrams
Linda: When your child goes to school, you only get to see report cards. At work, you get to see how they're actually doing day to day. Everyone comes up to tell me what a hard worker she is. It's very gratifying. We also get to be a team. We get to talk after work and support each other. Because we share the camp experience, we can be more supportive and understanding.

Leila Zuckerman (Lifeguard, Gardener, Bishul) and Tali Zuckerman (Madricha)
Leila and Tali Zuckerman
Leila and Tali Zuckerman
Leila: I get to spend a lot of time with her, which is especially nice because she lives in Israel now....She gets to see what I do. She supports me at work by encouraging her chanichim to follow the pool rules. Since I also do a lot of cooking here, she gets to enjoy my food too. The best part: It's great to see how much the chanichim and madrichim enjoy being with her. She gives me hugs during the day and calls me "Mommy" in front of her kids. That makes me feel proud and makes me smile.

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires
(7 families) 

Rabbi Barry & Carol Chesler and Rafi / Aliza Chesler

Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky and Didi Kalmanofsky

Rabbi Elliot Malomet and Yaakov Malomet

Rabbi Paul Resnick (Director) and Dori Resnick
Rabbi Paul and Dori Resnick
Rabbi Paul and Dori Resnick
Paul: Having my third child work here for a second year makes my summer even more fulfilling. I am blessed to have had each of our children work on staff here over the past seven summers.

Wendy Rosen and Sarah Rosen

Karen Legman-Segal (Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives) and Orli Segal

Leslie Tubul (Director, 
Breira B'Ramah) and Naamit Tubul  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tal Becker of the Shalom Hartman Institute: "Israel and the Constancy of Change"

Tal Becker: Israel and the Constancy of Change
Hartman Scholars Explore the High Holy Days

Hartman Institute scholars have many insights to offer for the High Holidays. Click here to access articles, essays, videos, and educational materials.

Tal Becker says that Judaism tells us that change is coming, the only question is whether we will be a part of it. Read his column:

What is astonishing is that the pull of determinism remains strong even when evidence of change is all around us. As parents, our children grow and change before our eyes, and yet at each stage of their development we can find it hard to imagine them transitioning to the next. We are often drawn to seeing our current job, or our family life, or our emotional state, as fixed in stone even if our own very life experience points to the contrary. 

When we look at the Middle East the same dynamic is often at play. In the last years we have watched the region undergo unprecedented change, and yet many find it hard to accept that more is yet to come. With each transition, many quickly persuade themselves that things have settled permanently into place.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

It's that time of the year when Craig n' Company offers you free Inspiration for the hoy days without the Guilt!

It's that time of the year when Craig n' Company offers you                                                                                                       free Inspiration for the hoy days without the Guilt!  
Jewels of Elul IX - The Art of Welcoming
Jewels of Elul Vol IX, The Art of Welcoming 
is a booklet featuring Jewels from Rick Lupert, Frank Luntz, Donald Davis, Cantor Angela Buchdahl, Liz Creditor, Quincy Jones, Idit Klein, Rabbi Stuart Kelman, Rabbi David Saperstein, Clive Lawton, Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson, Raychel Kubby Adler, Yael Unterman, Rabbi David Wolpe, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Carrie Bornstein, Joan Glanz Rimmon, Sally Quinn, Herve Humler, Anat Hoffman, Dr. Ron Wolfson, Dr. Richard S. Vosko, David Brenner, Rabbi Simon Jacobson,  Mayor Eric Garcetti, Noa, Angela Sanbrano, Andrew Lustig & Rabbi Hayim Herring.
Elul starts this Wednesday. Sign up for your daily Jewels Here