Long Beach, CA — The 124th annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is wrapping up in Long Beach, CA, with over 500 Reform Rabbi attending a jam-packed schedule of learning, prayer, and collegiality.
The Convention focus “Rabbis Leading the Shift, Jewish Possibility in a Rapidly Changing World” enabled Reform Rabbis, as leaders of the Jewish community, to focus on their leadership through the “shifts” in the Jewish community, religion, politics, business, economics, media, technology and almost every other area of life. In addition, there were ample opportunities for Torah Lishmah, spiritual growth and professional development.
Big name speakers included Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, who spoke on the art of storytelling and Jewish narratives; and Howard Gordon, writer and producer of the Golden Globe award-winning series Homeland, who treated the crowd to an insider’s view of screenwriting in Hollywood.
Additionally Marne Levine, Vice-President of Global Public Policy for Facebook addressed the rabbis on the role that social media plays in community building, and Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23 and Me, delivered a fascinating presentation on understanding and accessing one’s own genetic information, raising the interesting question of what it means to be “genetically Jewish.”
Other speakers included David Feinberg, President of the UCLA Health System; Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor; Rob Eshman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish Journal and Tiffany Shlain, filmmaker and founder of the Webby Awards, each of whom presented their own unique take on leadership and vision in a rapidly changing world.
“When our Reform Rabbis engage in conversations and dialogues, those conversations translate into positive change for the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR. “Southern California was the perfect backdrop for our rabbis to bring creativity and innovation to their ever-expanding rabbinic roles as leaders in Reform Judaism.”
Other highlights of the Convention included an important “Rabbis Organizing Rabbis” summit at which the organizers kicked-off a nationwide campaign to advance meaningful immigration reform; and a timely and relevant panel entitled “Shaping the Soul of the State of Israel” at which David Siegel, Consul General of Israel, Los Angeles, highlighted a panel of influential Israeli Reform Rabbis committed to supporting pluralism and social change in Israel, who shared their vision for support of Israel by North American Reform Rabbis and their communities.
The Board of Trustees of the CCAR also installed a slate of new officers and trustees, who will be led by President Richard A. Block, Senior Rabbi at The Temple -Tifereth Israel, Cleveland and Beachwood, OH.
The 2013 Convention was also an opportunity to showcase the stellar publications of the CCAR Press. Highlighted selections this year include the welcoming Haggadah, Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family written by Alan S. Yoffie; and Mishkan R’fuah: Where Healing Resides, a compilation of healing prayers, edited by Rabbi Eric Weiss.
Next year, the 125th Annual Convention of the CCAR will be held in Chicago, March 30-April 2, 2014 with theme of “Great Issues, Great Questions, Great Ideas: Learn Discuss Grow.”
For more information on the Convention in Long Beach, please visit http://SoCal.ccarnet.org
About the CCAR
Founded in 1889, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism. The CCAR projects a powerful voice into the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities and works to ensure a vibrant Jewish future by providing exemplary resources, publications, and programs to the Reform Rabbinate and the broader Jewish community.
With 2,000 Reform Rabbis on “on the front lines” of the North American and worldwide Jewish communities, the CCAR empowers Reform Rabbis to provide religious, spiritual and organizational leadership by offering high-quality opportunities for Torah study, professional development, spiritual growth, and chevruta - a nurturing community of colleagues and friends.
For more information on the CCAR, please visit www.ccarnet.org