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RCJC Enewsletter 5-22-08

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May 22, 2008

Dear Friend,

Welcome to the RCJC Newsletter. You are receiving this as a rabbi or cantor with a relationship to We have more than 615 rabbis and cantors from many different Jewish movements on our mailing list.

In March we unveiled the password-protected section of our Resource Center for Jewish Clergy, where articles are only viewable by Jewish clergy with usernames and passwords. We originally published 13 essays on officiation at intermarriage--both pro and con--written by distinguished rabbis in both the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, including Albert Axelrad, Jerome Davidson, Steven Foster, Sam Gordon, Bruce Kadden, Rim Meirowitz, Evan Moffic, Steven Carr Reuben, Flip Rice, Peter RubinsteinAlvin Sugarman and others.

We've added two new pieces on officiation--one a video interview--and started a new resource on Bar and Bat Mitzvah.


In a fascinating and funny senior sermon, a fifth-year rabbinical student at HUC-JIR remembers grappling with the blue sheet. "We stared at each other, the form and I, for a long while," she writes. "If I signed, what kind of rabbi would that make me?" Read more in Parsha Lech L'cha: The Dread of Being Finite.

"When I was in rabbinical school, I recognized I was the only one of my peers willing to officiate at interfaith marriages," says David Kudan (HUC-JIR '87), who worked under one of the pioneers of officiation, Abraham Klosner. "It was rather surprising to me that this was the case." Watch a video of his interview.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

In a commentary on Kedoshim, Stephen Carr Reuben relates one of those wonderful rabbi moments when he was stopped by the intermarried mother of a child who just became Bar Mitzvah. She's crying, but they're tears of joy.



Discussion Boards

Our goal is to create a safe and honest atmosphere for Jewish clergy to talk about the challenges of working with interfaith families and supporting their inclusion in Jewish community and Jewish living. The discussion boards are completely private, accessible only by rabbis and cantors with usernames and passwords. The same goes for your comments on RCJC articles.

Write for us--or let us interview you!

We are always looking for articles, sermons and resources to help other Jewish clergy support interfaith families and their connection to Judaism. And we hope to expand our video interviews, too, so if you’d like to be filmed, let us know. In addition to officiation and Bar/Bat Mitzvah, we are hoping to touch on many areas of interfaith family connection with Judaism, and we welcome your thoughts. Email me at

It’s a real 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) | P.O. Box 428, Newton, MA 02464 | 617 581 6860 |

Hebrew for "son of the commandments." In modern Jewish practice, Jewish boys come of age at 13. When a boy comes of age, he is officially a bar mitzvah and considered an adult. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the bar mitzvah's coming-of-age ceremony and/or celebration. The female equivalent is "bat mitzvah." A member of the Jewish clergy who leads a congregation in songful prayer. ("Hazzan" in Hebrew.) Hebrew for "my master," the term refers to a spiritual leader and teacher of Torah. Often, but not always, a rabbi is the leader of a synagogue congregation.
Rabbi Lev Baesh

Rabbi Lev Baesh is the Director of The Resource Center for Jewish Clergy of InterfaithFamily.

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