Monday, April 4, 2011

And the good times did roll - #ccar11 in review

"Tikkun Olam is still the coin of the realm in the Reform Movement." So said Rabbi Jonathan Stein in his introductory remarks as the new president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). This brief line stands out as one highlight of a very exciting, fulfilling and inspiring five days spent with several hundred colleagues in New Orleans. Launching his term with such a reinvigorating statement serves also to affirm what I hold about Reform's brand of progressive Judaism: that our primary goal is to see Jewish living as a framework through which we execute our Divine mission to improve, repair, and heal the world. Perhaps more simply, that through our deeds and words, we make the world better for our having been here.
There were of course a great many more focal points for my attendance at this year's gathering: marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Religious Action Center (with inspiring words from Rabbis David Saperstein, Lynne Landsberg, and my dear old friend Jonah Pesner); being with some of my fellow Brickner Fellows; studying with HUC-JIR president David Ellenson; "visioning" sessions about the future of Reform Judaism and the rabbinate; vibrant discussion about the movement (thanks to the RVI); early-morning and late-nite conversations with friends and colleagues....
...I even hear we were situated near the French Quarter :)
OKAY, so there were also the sights and sounds and tastes of the host city to enjoy - great meals and music shared with dear friends, as we recharged our batteries while engaging one another with the most important topics we face as rabbis and people.
As I blogged from last year's convention: the challenges of travel can detract from the experience; once again, the conference itself, and the many present with whom I had the chance to spend time, made it all worth while. Letting the good times (continue to) roll, and looking forward to next year in Boston.

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