In this release:
The 12th International ALEPH Kallah is gaining momentum, with a line up of remarkable courses, dozens of powerful prayer experiences and over 600 registrants to date. The event is poised to be one of the most successful Kallot ever!
ALEPH chose the theme "HaMakom BaMakom Hazeh: Gathering in Sacred Community" to highlight the fact that the intention of the event is a sacred one: l'shem shamayimfor the sake of heaven. The sacred community of Kallah supports and sustains the spiritual growth of the individual, as it builds and deepens the community.
One of the most important contributions of the Kallah is that it offers participants the opportunity to give back to the community hosting the event through a tikkun olam project. This year's project will be making easy no-sew fleece blankets for children who have been victims or witnesses to domestic violence. The blankets will be distributed to agencies throughout the State, including the brand new Family Advocacy Center (opening in July), Cuidando Los Ninos (providing daycare for homeless children), and the new All Faiths Day Care Program (providing treatment for abused children).
After supporting those in need, participants can nurture themselves at the Kallah Healing Center, providing holistic care through a wide range of practitioners.
Children and teenagers can also rest assured that their needs will be met. The Kids' Kallah for those ages 5-12 and directed by Joanie Levine and Sarah Shapiro, will offer clowning and theater, art, singing, Torah study, dance, sports, possible field trips and its own tikkun olam project. The Kids' Kallah will focus on the theme of the gathering by connecting with the Pueblo tribal culture in New Mexico in relationship to the Jewish tribal culture. Kallah's Awesome Teen Program will offer special classes just for teens and help out with the Kids' Kallah program. Nights will be filled with movies, music and hanging out in the Teen lounge as well as making an original film!
Yet another highlight of the Kallah is the Kesher Program, building community and empowering leaders who are in their twenties and early thirties. This year's gathering will include a pre-Kallah Sunday intensive focused on HaMakom BaMakom - finding God in the mountains of New Mexico.
The ALEPH Kallah is Jewish Renewal's largest and most diverse gathering. Scores of rabbis, teachers and life long learners join first timers along with a talented artists and musicians from all over the world for a week of meaningful connection. To register, please visit www.aleph.org.
From May 10-13 in Berlin, Germany, a group of 50 Jewish men and women from Germany and diverse cities in Europe gathered at the famous Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue for the first international initiative of Ohel Hachidush: The Tent of Renewal - a new movement for Jewish learning, celebration, prayer and reclamation of Jewish Identity in Germany and Europe.
The event was organized in cooperation with the Berlin Jewish Adults Education and the Synagogue Oranienburger Strasse Bejt Or and their Rabbi Gesa Ederberg. Participants came from the Netherlands, Norway, Italy and all over Germany.
"Jews in Berlin need more opportunities for creativity and experimentation in their Jewish religious expression," said Cantor Jalda Rebling, who co-created this event with a dedicated group of Jewish teachers and activists influenced by the American Jewish Renewal movement. That is why they invited leaders of the U.S. based movement to present a Thursday through Sunday teach-in and Shabbaton for Jews in Germany's capital.
Rabbi Marcia Prager and Cantor Jack Kessler of Philadelphia flew into Berlin to offer a taste of Jewish Renewal and explore with conference participants what a uniquely European style of renewal might look like. Rabbi Prager and Cantor Kessler led a series of intensive workshops, a song-filled Renewal-style Kabbalat Shabbat with Cantor Rebling, and co-led with Cantor Avital Gerstetter and Cantor Rebling in a traditional Shabbat morning service at the conference.
The Conference also included European teachers offering diverse workshops such as "Women and Talit" led by Lilith Schlesinger. Prof Ilan Tal of the Freie Universität Berlin gave a Talmud study on Masekhet Bavli Taanit as an example of feminist commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. Sandra Lustig discussed her book 'Turning the Kaleidoscope: New Perspectives on European Jewry' and Professor Susanne Zeller discussed new approaches to Jewish Social Work.
Said Cantor Rebling; "This conference supports Jewish Renewal projects throughout Europe. Here in Berlin, for instance, Ohel HaChidush is becoming a place where young Jewish people and also their elders can come together to learn, sing, create, cook together, and share joy ands sorrow of our lives. Every Jew is welcome, especially those who cannot find their place in the traditional Jewish communities. Some who find a welcome at Ohel HaChidush are living in unusual family structures; some have had very few experiences in living as a Jew; some have a Jewish father but not a Jewish mother. All are looking for a space where they are accepted as they are."
An international network is growing and was represented at the conference. Participants from several European countries attended. ALEPH Alliance for Jewish Renewal rabbinical student Lynn Feinberg from Oslo, a co-creator of this group, came to the conference to teach Eco-Kashrut - an expansion of the traditional concept of keeping kosher that integrates an array of ecological concerns. German born Rabbi Elisa Klapheck, who is serving as rabbi in Amsterdam and is one of the renewal pioneers in Europe, wrote a moving opening address to the conference in which she called upon those who attended to "create our own way of Renewal because of our unique German and European history."
Cantor Rebling, whose mother survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen said: "Every European Jewish life story is a story of a broken family tradition. For many of us in the post-Shoa (Holocaust) generation, to be a Jew still means to be full of sorrow, pain and loss. Many Jews in Germany still have ambivalence and anxiety about creating new roots in this country. We wonder if it is possible to find new joy in being a Jew in Germany or in Europe.
Learning, spirituality, good music and good food certainly made the three days of the conference an event of joy, hope and creativity. This weekend brought Jews together, consolidated an international network, and made it obvious that the time for Jewish renewal in Europe has arrived.
At the close of Shabbat, a Havdala ceremony with about 100 participants became a special event because the three German female cantors of Germany, Avital Gerstetter, Jalda Rebling and Mimi Sheffer, came together in an unforgettable concert. Cantors Jalda Rebling and Jack Kessler also shared wonderful Sephardic music with the audience accompanied by the famous percussionist Michael Metzler.
Said Manja Pach from Deventer (Netherlands): " What an inspiring group! I never thought that I could find a place for me and my ideas. I am so happy that I came.
For more information call or write Cantor Jalda Rebling Yalda.Anna@t-online.de 011-49-30-44-55969 or Rabbi Marcia Prager firstname.lastname@example.org 215-849-9227
Stanford University Medical Center has hired Rabbi Lori Klein to serve as the interfaith chaplain for it's three oncology units. She will provide or secure spiritual care for patients and their family members on the general oncology unit, the bone marrow transplant unit, and at the Cancer Center, which includes several clinics and provides outpatient treatment. The benefit of having one chaplain for all three units is that Rabbi Klein can provide continuing care for patients and family members throughout their relationship with Stanford. Rabbi Klein was ordained through the ALEPH Rabbinical Program in January 2006 and completed her chaplain residency at Stanford in May 2007.
ALEPH Executive Director said of this appointment, "Rabbi Lori Klein is a brilliant and dedicated spiritual leader. Her capacity for bringing profound spiritual healing and her skill in shepherding others through fear and grief into comfort and strength will enable her to serve her patients, their families and her colleagues masterfully. Stanford is lucky to have her!"
Rabbi Lori first dreamed of becoming a rabbi at age thirteen, just after her Bat Mitzvah in a Reform congregation in New Jersey. She re-started her quest to become a rabbi after attending the 1997 ALEPH Kallah. She has worked as an anti-racist, feminist, gay rights political activist since her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985. This background taught her how to work effectively with many types of people. After working as a criminal defense attorney in Santa Cruz, California for almost 20 years, she is now manifesting her life's mission. Rabbi Klein still lives in Santa Cruz with her partner Irene Reti, and has served for nine years in support of Rabbi Eli Cohen as a spiritual leader for Chadeish Yameinu, a Jewish Renewal congregation.
Beginning this June, Rabbi Dan Goldblatt of Beth Chaim Congregation in Danville will be embarking on a "journey toward greatness" as one of only seventeen rabbis throughout the country participating in the second year pilot of STAR Rabbis: From Good To Great program. STAR Rabbis: From Good to Great is the first initiative to explore excellence in leadership with rabbis who have at least 10 years experience.
Experienced rabbis have many opportunities to attend conferences and meet with colleagues. But, From Good to Great provides them with a very different experience. The program offers rabbis at mid-career a unique way to re-energize their dreams and lead their communities with greater impact, along with a select group of colleagues from across the denominational spectrum.
"Rabbis need ways to re-connect with the ideals that called them into the congregation and develop new strategies for bringing those ideals to life," said Rabbi Hayim Herring, STAR's Executive Director. Inspired by the best selling book, Good to Great, by business consultant Jim Collins, the program uses trusted principles of leadership to energize, inspire, and support rabbis who compare their current achievements to their future aspirations.
Through participation in two leadership retreats, several "webinars" (learning sessions over the Internet) and mentored project work, rabbis practice the art of leadership and change management within their congregation. The program places special emphasis on building a more vibrant congregation though partnership with lay leadership.
Faculty and guest teachers for From Good to Great include some of the leading rabbis and experts from the Jewish world and corporate leaders who also understand synagogues and the Jewish community.
Rabbi Goldblatt writes: "We are in a moment of paradigm shift in Jewish life and I am excited by the possibilities and blessings before us. I am honored to be a part of this prestigious program that is committed to develop and activate the revitalization of Jewish spiritual communal life."
ALEPH Executive Director Debra Kolodny says, "We are delighted that Rabbi Goldblatt is being recognized for his remarkable gifts in this way. We are sure that leaders throughout the spectrum of the organized Jewish world will be as impressed with his vision, talent, wisdom and effectiveness as we are! Kol ha kavod, Dan."
About STAR: STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal) is a philanthropic partnership of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation. STAR Rabbis: From Good to Great is funded by the Lasko Family Foundation of Philadelphia. Learn more at www.starsynagogue.org.