The Auerbach Launch Grant: An Invitation to Experiment and Create

Participants in a grief retreat sit in a circle inside a yurt

Rabbi Nicole Fix (RRC ’23) is using avant-garde musical theater to bring the Talmud to the stage — and sound a warning on the dangers of present-day extremism. Chloe Zelkha, a fourth-year RRC student, is building community for young adults grieving the loss of a parent, partner, sibling or close friend.

While the two projects might at first glance sound dissimilar, they share much in common. Both engage with young Jewish adults who may lack

Power to Which People? American Jewish Philanthropy & Democracy

Lila Corwin Berman

The fellowship is meant to honor of the work of two retired faculty member: Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, RRC ‘85, who started RRC’s social justice organizing program, and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, Ph.D., RRC ‘82, who pioneered the college’s approach to multifaith studies.

As part of the fellowship, Plevan also will be taking part in a March 20 panel discussion, “Democracy and Judaism: Does One Need the Other to Thrive?”, organized by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood and A More Perfect Union: Jewish Partnership for Democracy (register here.) Democracy comes up in many of Plevan’s classes at RRC, particularly a course examining democracy and Jewish sources. He said to expect fall programming in advance of the 2024 elections.

Taken together, the fellowship will explore and champion how Reconstructionism teaches that participatory democracy is vital for religious flourishing.

“For many people, religious pluralism means keeping religion outside of the public realm,” said Plevan. “That wasn’t Kaplan’s view at all. He taught that what a thriving democracy needs is having different kinds of peoples and traditions and ideas contributing to public life.”

Course Spotlight: Rabbis in Social Movements

Rabbi Marissa Elana James demonstrates in the snow in Center City Philadelphia carrying a sign that reads "no more harassment at work."

When Rabbi Alex Weissman applied to rabbinical school in 2011, he estimates that there were just a handful of rabbis working at social-justice organizations. Fast-forward a dozen years and that number now exceeds several dozen — too many for Weissman to name.

Why the dramatic shift? Many advocacy organizations now recognize the role that clergy can play in helping activists maintain spiritual and emotional health. (Burnout is all too common among people trying to fix a broken world.) Additionally, many progressive organizations have sought to reclaim the moral, prophetic voice, refusing to surrender the religious label to political and cultural conservatives, says Weissman.

Shir Hadash chosen for new rabbinic internship program

Shira Singelenberg pictured outside the RRC building

Shira Singelenberg is a native of Bethesda, Md. She said she grew up in an environment that fostered curiosity and questioning and one in which Shabbat dinner was a revered and memorable time. She received her BA degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where she majored in history with a minor in medieval and early studies.

RRC Graduation 2023/5783: The Rabbis’ Response

The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College’s graduating class of 2023/5783 marked the profound moment of transition by creating a beautiful ritual that incorporates the birkat kohanim, the priestly blessing. It is one of the oldest and most powerful blessings of the Jewish tradition.

RRC Student, Tillman Scholar Reflects on Meaning of Service

My time in the military was busy and transformative. Amidst the stress of active duty life, I found myself having conversations while on watch, or in the chameleon chapel where I connected with people on a personal level. I learned over time that people craved the chance to talk and safely express themselves.

I wanted to foster the environment where my shipmates could feel safe to talk, and through those moments is where I realize

You Should Know…Rabbi Kami Knapp Schechter

Waist up photo of Rabbi Kami Knapp-Schechter wearing a tallit.

Rabbis are usually the ones stewarding congregants through life cycle events, such as births, deaths, coming of age and marriage, but what happens when a rabbi goes through those same monumental life moments?

Congregation Or Shalom Rabbi Kami Knapp Schechter, who just turned 40, is returning to her synagogue on May 22 after maternity leave, having given birth to twins three months ago.

New Grants Keep RRC ‘Boldly Relevant’

Two recent grants will help Reconstructing Judaism advance its strategic priorities of pursuing racial justice, investing in rabbinic education and strengthening Jewish communities.

The Wabash Center, which funds higher education in religion and theological studies, awarded $30,000 in new funding to Reconstructing Judaism. With this fiscal support, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College — part of Reconstructing Judaism — will partner with the Inside Out Wisdom and Action Project on integrating the project’s “Dismantling Racism From the Inside Out” curriculum with faculty members.