Congregation Beth Am’s Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows has been chosen to participate in Rabbis Without Borders (RWB), a Clal program which helps rabbis make Jewish thought and practice more available for improving people’s lives.
Bellows was among more than 90 applicants for the program, and was one of 18 selected for the fellowship.
“Interest in the program has only increased over the years,” said Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, director of Rabbis Without Borders. “Rabbis recognize that the religious environment has changed — from family makeup to spiritual practice. To reach people where they are and how they are, rabbis need to apply their skills in new ways. RWB offers that kind of support. It helps rabbis better communicate in both familiar and new venues, and makes Jewish wisdom an accessible resource for the American public.”
The program, now in its fourth year, encourages rabbis to think creatively about their work and the new American religious landscape. Building a network of religious leaders from all streams, RWB helps rabbis make Jewish insights readily available, adding to the well of American spiritual resources. As the key disseminators of the tradition, rabbis who can present Jewish wisdom more effectively are better educators and community builders, and can become religious leaders with unique tools to offer the broader culture.
Rabbinic Fellows will gather in NYC four times during the 2012-13 academic year. The first session, from Oct. 29-30, will feature Lisa Miller, religion editor at Newsweek magazine and The Daily Beast, who will discuss religion in America today. The Dec. 17-18 program will feature social media innovator Daniel Sieradisky, who will discuss technology’s effects on society.
RWB also has a variety of resources for rabbis to enhance their skills for addressing diverse audiences. From online learning to one-on-one dialogue, participants will work with Clal faculty to develop methodologies that draw on the texts and tradition in new ways. The goal is for these “spiritual innovators” to see their congregations as more than just members of their school, community or institution.
Since 1974 when Clal began, its mission has been to help prepare the Jewish people for the unprecedented freedom and openness of America. Started by Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, Clal formed a network of rabbis capable of translating Jewish wisdom and practice into useful idioms for contemporary life. RWB is an extension of that work.
— Submitted by Congregation Beth Am