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RCJC Enewsletter 5-14-09

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May 14, 2009

Dear Friend,

I hope you've been well. The Resource Center for Jewish Clergy now has 26 password-protected essays and videos to help you--and 650 of your colleagues--in your work with people in interfaith relationships. I want to tell you about the new essays we've added since our last email newsletter. But first I'd like your important input. Needs Your Feedback!

I hope you saw the May 5 email newsletter announcing's User Survey. I'm making a special request to all of our rabbis and cantors to take the survey--and to recommend to the people you work with who use the site to take the survey as well.

Tell us how you use the site, and what you'd like to see changed.

Take the survey by Sunday, May 31, and you will be eligible to win a free 8GB iPod Touch. If you've already taken the survey, thank you!



(If the above button doesn't work, use the following link:

The winner of the drawing will be announced Tuesday, June 16, and survey results will be announced this summer.

NOTE: There are a series of questions at the end of the survey specifically for professionals who work with interfaith families. If you'd like to get to that section more quickly, you can check "Not applicable" when you get to the questions about your level of participation in Jewish rituals, level of Jewish knowledge, sense of connection to the Jewish community and membership in a synagogue. This will let you skip the detailed questions aimed more at people in interfaith relationships.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Rabbinical School and Intermarried Applicants

Rabbinical schools' policies toward intermarried and interdating applicants have generated a lot of discussion in recent weeks.

Two articles provoked the debate: first, we published a first-person essay by one-time seminary hopeful Edie Mueller, Why I'm Not a Rabbi; soon after, New Voices, the national Jewish student magazine, published an article on the issue titled The Coming of the Intermarried Rabbi.

We gave you a first peek at this issue in the fall when E. David Curiel, the featured applicant in the New Voices piece, wrote an exclusive password-protected essay for us, A Case for Accepting Interfaith-Married or -Partnered Applicants into Seminary. A year ago, then-rabbinical student (now Rabbi) Yael Shmilovitz shared a thoughtful sermon with us that explored her response to the HUC's "blue sheet."

What do you think? Several of your colleagues have already commented on CEO Ed Case's blog post. You can also comment on any of the previously mentioned articles or on our new discussion board thread: Should rabbinical schools accept intermarried or interdating candidates? Feel free to email us as well--especially if you'd like to write more about the issue, on either side of the debate.

New Articles on Officiation

After 25 years as a Reform rabbi, Rabbi Elias Lieberman explains Why I've Changed My Mind on the question of officiation.

In Hagar's Legacy, RRC graduate Rabbi Rachel Schoenfield writes how you don't have to be Jewish to have a special relationship with G-d--or Judaism. The Egyptian servant Hagar, for example, was the first woman in the Bible to speak with one of G-d's angels.

It’s still a challenge to let Jewish clergy know about our resources. You can help us out by sending this email newsletter to your rabbi and cantor friends. Many thanks!


Rabbi Lev Baesh

Director of the Resource Center for Jewish Clergy

(617) 581-6863 (direct line)   

Derived from the Greek word for "assembly," a Jewish house of prayer. Synagogue refers to both the room where prayer services are held and the building where it occurs. In Yiddish, "shul." Reform synagogues are often called "temple." God. In traditional Jewish circles, it is forbidden to write or say God's full Hebrew name. This custom has carried over into English by some, who write "God" without the vowel (o) and replace it with a hyphen. Some use variations of this, such as G!d or G@d.
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