Saturday, September 28, 2013

announcing the publication of "A Manifesto for the Future: The ShefaNetwork Archive: Conservative/Masorti Judaism Dreaming from Within"

announcing the publication of

A Manifesto for the Future: The ShefaNetwork Archive

Conservative/Masorti Judaism Dreaming from Within

Edited by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

(See Table of Contents Below)

This collection has been nine years in the making and is an archive of overflowing Jewish passion. There future of Conservative/Masorti Judaism depends on voices like those shared in this book, which was created to fulfill the mission of ShefaNetwork: to bring together dreamers from within the Conservative/Masorti Movement and to give their dreams an audible voice. ShefaNetwork was born in December of 2004 to create a virtual community of professional and lay activists in the Conservative/Masorti movement and a place to discuss the movement's direction and ways of strengthening Conservative Judaism for the future. Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the Shefa enterprise is the way it has avoided strict boundaries between the intellectual and the practical. Shefa has provided a very fruitful engagement between intellectuals and practitioners, many of whom should be described as falling in both categories. This is as it should be, because a religious movement needs both a coherent vision with philosophical rigor and historical perspective, and the practical wisdom to enact this vision. Usually, these two tasks are not done well by the same people, but that too is a bias that leads us to divide the world into "theorists" and "practitioners," as if the two are from different planets. If the Conservative movement is going to succeed in creating spiritual communities in its schools, synagogues and camps, it will have to bring together the theological visions of the movement's intellectual lights with the practical wisdom of professionals and lay people. The most important accomplishment of ShefaNetwork may be that it has begun a conversation that includes all of these essential voices.


1             Introduction, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

From ShefaJournal 5766: Definitions

15           Foreword, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

17    Editors' Introduction, Sara Shapiro-Plevan and Rabbi William Plevan

33    The Challenge Facing the Conservative Movement, Rabbi Judith Hauptman

37    Between the Holy and the Sacred: Conservative Judaism's Halachah Controversy, Rabbi Ira F. Stone

46    Fostering Holiness and Spirituality in a Solomon Schechter Day School, Jane Taubenfeld Cohen

52    Finding Spiritual Jewish Prayer, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

55           Traditional and Egalitarian, Emily Fishman

62    Revitalizing the Conservative Synagogue, Fran Gordon

71    A Manifesto for the Future: Drop 'Conservative' Label to Tap True Meaning and Reach the Faithful, Rabbi David Wolpe

81           To My Rabbis and Teachers, Jonathan Lopatin

89           On Being a Conservative Jew, Rose Shoshana Wolok

91     Halachah and the Conservative Movement, Aaron Weininger

95    Ethically Driven Halachah: The Future of the Conservative Movement, Rabbi Judith Hauptman

100  The Struggle for Self-Definition in Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Robert Gordis

123  Maintaining the Balance: Achieving the Dream, Nicole Guzik

From ShefaJournal 5768.1: Instrumental Music on Shabbat and Chag

131  Editor's Introduction, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

133-168  A conversation including Robert L. Smith, Dahlia Schwartz, Glenn Tamir, Rebecca Boggs, Rabbi David Kay, Craig Taubman, Rabbi Barry Leff, Karen Silberman, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Fran Gordon, and Rabbi Neal Loevenger (January through May 2008)

169  Conservative Judaism and Social Justice, Rabbi Bill Plevan

169  Merge the Movements?, Rabbi David Kay

From ShefaNetwork Journal 5768.2: Kashrut, Halachah, and Conservative Jews

177  Editor's Introduction, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

179  The Invitation from Rabbi Barry Leff

181-250  A conversation including Zack Berger, Fred Passman, R.L. Smith, Larry Lenhoff, Steve, Rabbi Barry Leff, Avi Hein, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Fran Gordon, Rabbi Jim Rogozen, Rabbi Joshua Heller, Rabbi Bill Plevan, Rebecca Boggs, Anne Pettet, Rabbi David Bockman, Ilan Glazer, Rabbi David Siff, Gella Solomon, Rabbi Len Sharzer, Rabbi David Kay, Rabbi Andy Sacks, and Rabbi Dr. Ilana Rosansky (Messages 2109‐2164 on the Shefa listserv)

251  A Closing Reflection on the Conversation with Rabbi Leff, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

From ShefaNetwork Journal 5769.1: USCJ (Vol 1)

256  Editor's Introduction, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

257-311 A conversation including Zack Frankel, Steven Katz, Rabbi David Kay, Fred Passman, Jonathan Loring, Rabbi Bill Plevan, Anne Pettit, Ira Fink, Rabbi  Menachem Creditor, Steven Katz, Nina Kretzmer, Matt Shapiro, Shoshana Michael-Zucker, Rabbi Leonard Gordon, Marc Stober, and Dahlia Schwartz (selected posts between February 17 and February 22, 2009)

From ShefaNetwork Journal 5769.2: USCJ (Vol 2)

313  Editor's Introduction, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

315  Toward a new vision for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Neil A. Tow

317  Conservative Judaism's Future, Karla Worell

321  To What do We Aspire? Dr. Jonathan Woocher

324  Conservative Judaism: Valued and Validated, Rabbi David Kay

327  Moving Forward, Rabbi Jason Miller

329  What is Success? Fred Passman

330  No Plant is Fed from the Top, Paul Levine

331 The Chance to Build a Jewish Organization from the Ground Up, Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger

From ShefaNetwork Journal 5770.1: The Relationship Between Conservative Judaism and the Conservative Movement

335        Editor's Note, Nina S. Kretzmer

339        Shmirat HaGuf, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Part IThe Shmirat HaGuf Discussion

341              It Begins with the Local Community, Fred Passman

346              Body or Method, Rabbi David Bockman

348              Response to Rabbi Bockman, Fred Passman

350              Response to Fred Passman, Steven Katz

352              The Compelling Idea, Dr. Jonathan S. Woocher

355              Response to Dr. Woocher, Fred Passman

Part IIAn Issue of Past, An Issue of Present: Responses to Previous ShefaJournals

357  Rabbi Nicole Guzik, Response by Rabbi Neil Gillman

359  Rabbi Jim Rogozen, Larry Lenhoff, Response by Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

366  Jacob B. Ukeles, Responses by Paul Levine & (p. 370) Jonah Rank

377  Paul Levine, Response by Fred Passman

ShefaJournal 5770.2: "Tech-Tonic" is available online at

From ShefaJournal 5770.3: Why Must Masorti/Conservative Judaism Thrive?

383        Editor's Note, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

385        Response 1: Nina S. Kretzmer

386        Response 2: Rabbi Neil Tow

387        Response 3: Karla Worrell

From ShefaJournal 5771.1: HaYom uMachar: Visions of the Conservative/ Masorti Movement in North America

391        Editor's Note, Rabbi Menachem Creditor

395        Bring Sacred Back, Ilan Glazer

398        Response to Ilan Glazer, Fred Passman

401 Public Letter to the ShefaNetwork and members of the Hayom Coalition, Nina S. Kretzmer

404  Strategic Plan Feedback for College Students and Young Adults, Rabbi Daniel Greyber

409        Suggested Responses Rabbi David Kay

413  Visioning Future Success: The Next Iteration of a Central Organization for Conservative Judaism and Kehillot, Rabbi Loren Sykes

426  A 3-Part Jewschool Post : "The USCJ Strategic Plan", by  "ImproveUSCJ"

452  My Dream, Gabriel Nachman Seed

458  Learning for the Future, Nina S. Kretzmer

462  Towards a New Model of Leadership for College Kehillot, and the Entire Movement, Sandy Johnston

473  Input on the USCJ's Strategic Plan, Judy Gerstenblith (University of Maryland, College Park)

485        About ShefaNetwork

Rabbi Menachem Creditor ▶