CONNECTIONS 2017

Sessions

We will continue to update this page as presenters confirm their sessions

 

Reform Judaism & Reform Zionism | Thursday, May 18 at 17:00

 

17:00 – 18:30   Breakout Sessions: Reform Judaism & Reform Zionism [Beit Shmuel & HUC]

Select one 90-minute Panel Discussion or two Workshops of 40 minutes each.

 

Panel Discussion A: Progressive Jewish Voices in Politics and Government [HUC, Synagogue]

Progressive Jewish voices and values extend beyond the walls of our communities and congregations. This panel will feature individuals whose unique Jewish perspectives enhance their local and national governments in professional, political and lay capacities. The conversation will address issues of national importance in which a Jewish voice is necessary and critical to public discourse.

Chair: Isabel Dunst [USA]

Panelists: Rabbi Gilad Kariv [Israel], Rabbi Julia Margolis [South Africa], MP Michał Stasiński [Poland], Rabbi Reuben Sternschein [Brazil], Janet T. Stovin [USA]

 

Panel Discussion B: What Will the Jewish World Look Like 35 Years from Now?  [BS, 1st Floor, Hirsch Theater]

Look into the future as this panel addresses the impact of population growth on Israel in particular, and the Jewish world as a whole. Panelists will look at the rapid population growth among Haredim and Arab communities, the shrinking influence of Israel’s secular Jews, and the demographic implications of Israel’s population exceeding 16 million people within the country’s geographical borders. Beyond Israel, panelists will also examine how global geo political changes could affect Jewish life in Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Africa, the increasing rate of intermarriage worldwide, and the growth of Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox populations in North America.    

Chair: Laurence Wolff [USA]

Panelists: Sergio dellaPergola [Israel], Gilad Malach [Israel],

 

17:00 – 17:40 First Round of Workshops

For those who opt to attend Workshops, the following 40-minute sessions are available.

 

Workshop A: 50 Years of Complex Unification of Jerusalem [HUC, Auditorium]

Dr. Elan Ezrachi [Israel]

In June 1967, over the course of a few critical days, Jerusalem was transformed from a small, divided and threatened small town into the capital city of a fledgling country. The unification of Jerusalem radically changed the city’s character – a claim we will examine within the key parameters of the unification and the complexities that have emerged over the 50 years since 1967.

 

Workshop B: Diaspora Zionism – A Contradiction in Terms or A Prescription for the Future? [HUC, Classroom 106]

Rabbi Josh Weinberg [USA]

There are many who claim that Zionism saved Judaism a century ago. In today’s world, where we face a number of challenges including decreasing participation, lack of connection and a favoring of universalism over particularism, this workshop will look at models and texts about what Diaspora Zionism could look like and how we can enhance Jewish life through a renewed sense of Ethnic Judaism.

 

Workshop C: From Safed to Syria, the Saga Continues [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 300]

Professor Anthony Luder [Israel]

In 2011 the Syrian civil war broke out, and in 2013 Syrian victims of the war began arriving at Ziv Medical Centre in Safed in the thousands. As the nature and scale of the war in Syria has changed, Israel has embarked on a large-scale program of medical assistance for the Syrian civilian population. This session will provide analysis of the medical, human, humanitarian and geopolitical aspects of this astounding historic and strategic campaign, which has not received the media coverage it warrants.

   

Workshop D: Rebels By Choice [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

Lesley Sachs [Israel], Anat Hoffman [Israel]

Get the ten commandments of Jewish activism from two Rebels by Choice. Take notes as Lesley & Anat focus on what individuals and congregations can do to change the world, one Kotel at a time. It’s the tricks of the trade straight from the biggest players on the scene.

 

Workshop F: The ‘Unidivision’ of Jerusalem: Beyond Unification or Division to Real Solutions for the Conflict [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 301]

Eetta Prince-Gibson, [Israel], Amaal Abu-Ghoush [Israel]

Explore a vision for the future of Jerusalem in which the city serves as the unique capital of two states: the State of Palestine and the State of Israel. It’s a proposal that politically divides the city, while keeping it geographically united, but offers a way for the city to fulfill its potential as a city of peace and a center for all of the world’s major religions. Meet and listen to a multi-disciplinary team of Palestinian and Israeli Jerusalemites who have worked together for over a decade to develop a shared vision and detailed plans for the city that we love.

 

Workshop G: The Value of the ‘I’ in Israel: How Personal Purpose and Inspiration Leads Young Adults to A Sense of Belonging & A Commitment to Act [HUC, Classroom 101]

Rabbi Yehudit Werchow [Israel]

In this interactive workshop for community leaders and professionals: unpack case studies of immersive Israel experiences and leadership development in order to explore strategies and approaches for engaging young adults in purposeful – communal and individual – initiatives, and capacity building for resourceful leadership.

 

Workshop H: Catholics & Migrants in Israel [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 302]

Father David Neuhaus [Israel]

Shift your perspective by exploring the challenges of living in the Jewish State as a Catholic, as a non-Hebrew-speaking foreigner, as a migrant worker, and/or as an asylum seeker. Understand the meaning of providing a spiritual haven and learn about programs that educate the next generation in matters of the faith and provide essential assistance to the most vulnerable and overlooked members of Israeli society.

 

Workshop I: CONNECTIONS Choir [BS, 1st Floor, Music Room]

Cantor Zöe Jacobs [UK]

Learn new songs that will be sung during CONNECTIONS, including prayers. This workshop is designed for music enthusiasts and song leaders alike, and will focus on the role of music and ways to incorporate song in congregational leadership and community outreach.

 

17:50 – 18:30 Second Round of Workshops   

 

Workshop A: 50 Years of Complex Unification of Jerusalem [HUC, Auditorium]

 

Workshop B: Diaspora Zionism – A Contradiction in Terms or A Prescription for the Future? [HUC, Classroom 106]

 

Workshop C: From Safed to Syria, the Saga Continues [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 300]

 

Workshop D: Rebels By Choice [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

 

Workshop E: Israel & the Politics of Engagement [HUC, Classroom 101]

Rabbi Lea Mühlstein [UK], Steve Denenberg [Australia]

Learn about the work of ARZENU and the role that Progressive Jewry plays within the political landscape of national institutions – the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). Explore how our political engagement can impact our movement in Israel, and discover ways you can get involved in the important task of growing and strengthening Progressive Jewish Zionism.

 

Workshop F: The ‘Unidivision’ of Jerusalem: Beyond Unification or Division to Real Solutions for the Conflict [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 301]

 

Workshop H: Catholics & Migrants in Israel [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 302]

 

Building Communities & Nurturing Leaders| Friday, May 19 at 10:15

 

Think Tank: The Next Generation of Lay Leadership [HUC, Auditorium]

This Think Tank will delve into the multifaceted challenge of grooming the next generation of lay leadership in our communities and national/regional movements. The think tank will feature both newer and seasoned lay leaders, who will share their experiences and provide insight into how we can continue to utilize lay leadership as an integral part of our global movement. The goal of the session will be to think collectively and move towards tangible takeaways and best practices that can be shared throughout the movement.

Chair: Reuven Marko [Israel]

Panelists: Professor Fuad Aleskerov [Russia], Yael Cobano [Spain], Jeremy Cronig [USA], Klaudia Klimek [Poland], Andrea Kulikovsky [Brazil]

 

Panel Discussion A: Lifelong Learning in Progressive Jewish Life [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 301]

Explore the ways education remains an integral component of our global efforts through programming in summer and winter camps, youth movements, after-school activities, day schools and religious schools. Listen to panelists share best practices for success and discuss adaptive measures to ensure that education evolves with the next generation of students.

Chair: Sonja Guentner [Germany]

Panelists: Rabbi Meir Azari [Israel], Rabbi Steve Burnstein [Israel], Rabbi Mark Goldsmith [UK], Rabbi Leon A. Morris [Israel]

 

Panel Discussion B: Progressive Judaism & the Orthodox Establishment [HUC, Synagogue]

Throughout many of our communities worldwide, Progressive Judaism remains a “minority within a minority.” In many cases, the Orthodox community controls policy and funding for the Jewish community at large. It is becoming increasingly vital that Progressive Jews advocate for mutual recognition as non-Orthodox Jews. Panelists will share current successes and challenges in their communities, and will advise other communities in similar situations on how to tackle these challenging situations.

Chair: Rabbi Joel Oseran [Israel]

Panelists: Raul C. Gottleib [Brazil], Steve Lurie [South Africa], Irith Michelson [Germany], Anat Hoffman [Israel]

 

10:15 – 10:55 First Round of Workshops

For those who opt to attend Workshops, the following 40-minute sessions are available.

 

Workshop A: The Long and Winding Road [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 302]

Rabbi Richard Address [USA]

The evolution of longevity is impacting an increasing number of congregations around the world, changing the nature of congregational life, affiliation and spirituality. In this session, we will explore how Jewish texts and traditions can provide a pathway to what it means to grow older. We will look at issues such as caregiving, new rituals and understandings in mental and physical health, as well as some of the ethical implications associated with end-of-life concerns.

 

Workshop B: Beit Ha’am, Leadership Development [HUC, Kiddush Room]

Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman [Israel]

Using CONNECTIONS 2017 as an opportunity for discussing Israel-Diaspora relations, the World Zionist Organization (WZO)’s Department for Diaspora Activities present its Beit Ha’am content platform for strengthening Jewish world relations, speaking with target audiences, and gaining donors. We have developed a unique booklet for this session, which is a compilation of texts, poems and points for discussions about Israel-Diaspora relations and leadership development.

 

Workshop C: What Can Jewish Reform Communities in Israel Teach Us About Our Own? [HUC, Classroom 106]

Dr. Einat Libel-Hass [Israel]

This workshop provides best practices for building and sustaining vibrant congregations. Review congregations’ activity models and learn how to adapt them to your local context. Analyze a case study of  well-known Tel Aviv Reform congregations to discover how to improve congregational structures and functions, enhance rabbi-congregant relationships, broaden prospective target audiences, and increase funding.

 

Workshop D: 7 Startup Tips to Hack your Congregation’s Marketing [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

Rebecca Herson [Israel]

Your congregation has more in common with a startup company than you may realize. Startups need to raise awareness and engagement with little to no budget. Sound familiar? In this workshop, we will discuss how to adapt typical startup marketing techniques to your congregation’s needs, in order to generate buzz and get more people involved. Techniques we’ll talk about include branding, social media, websites and public relations.

 

Workshop E: A New Paradigm, A New Holiday, A New Opportunity to Build Community with Israel at Its Heart [HUC, Classroom 101]

Rabbi Nir Barkin [Israel]

Diaspora-Israel Day, Yom Tfutzot Yisrael, is a new holiday in the Jewish calendar initiated by DOMIM-aLike, a partner project of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the government of Israel. The holiday celebrates and serves to deepen the relationship between Israeli Reform congregations and Progressive communities around the world. This workshop will focus on the conceptual and practical perspectives of the new holiday, including ways your congregation can strengthen its connection to Israel.

 

Workshop F: The Role of Women in Community Building and Leadership Development [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 300]

Susan Bass [USA], Blair Marks [USA]

Women have played a unique leading role in the formation and growth of communities throughout the global Reform and Progressive community. Join us for a discussion of how women’s leadership has influenced not only Reform Judaism, but also other streams of Judaism. Are the challenges today different from those faced by the first “breakthrough” women leaders? Do women today face unique challenges in leadership and community building? And, if so, what resources and assistance are available to help them succeed?

 

Workshop H: Engaging a Community, The Beth Am Way [HUC, Classroom 104]

Cherie Half [USA], Fred Half [USA], Charles Rothschild [USA], Ina Bauman [USA], Steve Bauman [USA]

Congregation Beth Am of Los Altos Hills, California has been involved with the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) for over 20 years. Through trips abroad and connections with Reform congregations and individuals around the world, and specifically through our 17-year commitment to Congregation Beth Am of Poltava, our involvement with the Reform global movement and our ongoing education on issues facing world Jewry continue to grow immensely. Join this workshop for key takeaways on how to grow your congregation within our global movement. Lessons include fostering a committed committee that shares the workload and understands the mitzvah of underwriting the future of Progressive Judaism for the next generation.

 

Workshop J: CONNECTIONS Choir [BS, 1st Floor, Music Room]

Cantor Zöe Jacobs [UK]

 

11:05 – 11:45 Second Round of Workshops

For those who opt to attend Workshops, the following 40-minute sessions are available.

 

Workshop A: The Long and Winding Road [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 302]

 

Workshop B: Beit Ha’am, Leadership Development [HUC, Kiddush Room]

 

Workshop C: What Can Jewish Reform Communities in Israel Teach Us About Our Own? [HUC, Classroom 106]

 

Workshop D: 7 Startup Tips to Hack your Congregation’s Marketing [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

 

Workshop F: The Role of Women in Community Building and Leadership Development [BS, 3rd Floor, Classroom 300]

 

Workshop G: Jewish Communal Leadership [HUC, Classroom 104]

Leslie Bergman [UK]

What is the role of leadership in Jewish continuity? How important is it? In which ways is it similar to institutional leadership in general, and in which ways is it Jewish? Explore these and other questions together, including how we should build our leadership for the future.

 

Workshop I: The Community as the Foundation for a Sustainable World [HUC, Classroom 101]

Rabbi Tamir Nir [Israel], Jonathan Wootliff [Czech Republic]

One of the greatest challenges facing our generation is creating a sustainable lifestyle that preserves and creates a healthy planet for ourselves and future generations alike. While “thinking globally”, we must “act locally”, in order to create real change. In this workshop, we will explore how Jewish communities can serve as a basis for social-environmental change, creating sustainable living while promoting Jewish identity and values, and  fostering a sense of belonging that prompts responsibility for our shared world.

 

Breakout Sessions: Inspiring the Next Generation | Friday, May 19 at 14:00

Think Tank: Building a Global Youth Movement for the 21st Century [BS, 1st Floor, Big Hall]

Delve into the successes, opportunities and challenges facing Netzer Olami and related global Reform youth movements. Our goal is to reflect on best practices and devise a plan for how we can improve our current model and secure a vibrant and relevant global movement for the next generation of Progressive Jews.

Chair: Andrew Keene [USA]

Participants: Eric Beswick [South Africa], Joel McCarroll [Australia], Kathryn Fleisher [USA], Igor Zinkov [UK], Lior Argaman [Israel]

 

Panel Discussion A: Training Today’s Rabbinic Students for Tomorrow’s Congregations [HUC, Synagogue]

Training rabbis and clergy who meet the needs of evolving communities remains a critical component of ensuring the future of the worldwide Progressive Jewish movement. In this same vein, training rabbis to support specific geographic areas, especially developing and emerging communities, is of paramount importance to the World Union. Our panel will be comprised of current students from each Progressive Jewish seminary, each of whom will highlight various paths to the rabbinate and their visions for a rabbinate in the 21st century.
Chair: Noeleen Cohen [UK]

Panelists:: David Benjamin [Israel], Haim Casas [Spain], Arseny Nikitenko [Belarus], Rachael Pass [USA]; David Maxa [Czech Republic]

 

Panel Discussion B: Antisemitism, BDS and the Rise of Right-Wing Governments [BS, 1st Floor, Hirsch Theater]

Address the issues relating to Antisemitism in Jewish communities and on college campuses, including the proliferation of the BDS movement and how right-wing governments are affecting Jewish communities around the world. Discussions will focus on best practices and dive into concerns and challenges facing our communities. We will also examine what our role is in combatting Antisemitism and how we can move forward given the circumstances of the current global climate.  

Chair: Rabbi David Gelfand [USA]

Panelists:: Stéphane Bédèr [France], Graham Carpenter [UK], Enrique Jurkowski [Argentina], Paul Liptz [Israel], Linda Thorn [South Africa]

 

14:00 – 14:40 First Round of Workshops

 

Workshop A: Fixing What’s Broken – Israel Engagement Through Tikkun Olam [HUC, Auditorium]

Dan Herman [Israel]

Discuss the challenges of engaging young adults with Jewish life and Israel in a world of increasing political polarization – within Israel and beyond. Examine the changing understanding of Zionism among Jewish young adults, and meet with a panel of participants from the program “Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa”, who will share their own experiences of connecting with Israel through social activism and critical learning. The session will present a counterintuitive model of Jewish and Israel engagement by tackling some of the most uncomfortable issues in Israeli society and Judaism today head-on.

 

Workshop B: Ten Habits of Highly Successful Israel Advocates  [HUC, Classroom 101]

Avi Mayer [Israel]

The internet has become a key battleground in the war of ideas surrounding Israel, and anyone can participate – from their computer, tablet, or mobile phone. We’ll learn how to most effectively engage in the online conversation about Israel and how to best ensure that our voices are being heard.

 

Workshop C: The Leo Baeck Education Center: the Art and Practice of Tikkun Olam in Israel [HUC, Classroom 104]

Dani Fessler [Israel]

The Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa is an exemplary educational institution in Israel, influencing social change and developing a new generation of leaders based on the values of humanism, pluralism, liberalism and tolerance. It is also the flagship of the Progressive Jewish Movement in Israel. Topics to be discussed include shared existence between Jews and Arabs and the YEDA-Leo Baeck school network, which aims to promote quality education and equal opportunity.

 

Workshop F: Stop Obsessing with Young Adults [HUC, Classroom 106]

Orit Shoshani [Israel], Rodrigo Baumworcel [Israel]

For decades the Jewish world has been obsessed with solving the “problem of young adults” in their communities. But have we stopped to think who these young adults are? What do they want? Is there, in fact, a problem? In this session we will talk about the concept of generations and how it affects the Jewish world, as well as learning what young Jews from different places have to say about young adult programming and engagement.

 

Workshop I: Lehava [HUC, Kiddush Room]
Rabbi Noa Sattath [Israel]

This workshop opens a window into the efforts of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) to combat the growth, activities and influence of Lehava, an Israeli militia-style group based on a culture of hatred, racism and fear mongering. Taking advantage of at-risk youth and vulnerable populations to grow their numbers, Lehava is a nefarious presence across Jerusalem that commits hate crimes against Arabs and non-Jews.

 

Workshop J: CONNECTIONS Choir [BS, 1st Floor, Music Room]

Cantor Zöe Jacobs [UK]

 

14:50 – 15:30 Second Round of Workshops

 

Workshop A: Fixing What’s Broken – Israel Engagement Through Tikkun Olam [HUC, Auditorium]

 

Workshop B: Ten Habits of Highly Successful Israel Advocates  [HUC, Classroom 101]

 

Workshop D: Y Socialize by Volunteering? [HUC, Classroom 104]

Shannah Zilcha [Israel]

Understand engaging young adults in social environments and communities by analyzing the motives that lead millennials of Generation Y to choose their types of involvement and social groups. Discover how One Day Social Volunteering takes the platform of giving back to society by creating one-day volunteering events that are comfortable, approachable and fun so as to create a feeling of community, belonging and actual change.

 

Workshop E: Israel: (Engaging) Content, (Elevating) Conversation and (Evading) Controversy [HUC, Multipurpose Room]

Robin Moss [UK]

Israel is becoming an ever-greater part of our community discourse, and yet many lay, professional and rabbinic leaders feel ill-equipped to create excellent programming on Israel. This session will provide ten simple guidelines and ten concrete and easily-replicable ideas for making Israel a central and positive part of your community.

 

Workshop G: Leading Youth By Youth [HUC, Classrom 106]
Asha Sumroy [UK], Mili Haber [Australia]

Shnat Netzer is a ten-month leadership training program in Israel that offers Reform young adults opportunities to cultivate their leadership skills while experiencing Israel. A program of the World Union’s Netzer Olami, the global Reform Zionist youth movement, Shnat trains participants to become madrichim in their local branches and communities upon their return. In this session, learn about youth education straight from youth educators. Discover how they, as leaders in a youth movement, strive to inspire and empower youth with knowledge, to mobilize the people of today rather than crush them under mountains of information that is impossible to translate into action, and act upon, in their daily lives.

 

Workshop I: Lehava [HUC, Kiddush Room]