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Showing posts from March, 2009

New Features on The Conservative Movement Dreaming from Within

New Features on The Conservative Movement Dreaming from Within

Shalom Chevreh,

Just in time for Pesach, the ShefaNetwork site has some great new features!  In addition to the newer Jewish Holidayspage, the older Shefa Pesach Page is also available (note: not all links on this page are current)!  The new Magan Tzedek Hagadah insert is also available at

I'm very happy to share that Hayom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism has chosen, for now, to have certain messages hosted on the Shefa website - see!  This group began with 25 lay leaders and rabbis from large Conservative shuls, largely to make sure the message had the attention of USCJ leadership - now the invitation is open to all shuls in the Movement to add their voice to making sure our next strategic step is inclusive and transparent, truly a synergistic message for the ShefaNetwork chevreh!  Many have noted that all the rabbis in the ori…

haaretz: Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded over concert for Holocaust survivors

w w w . h a a r e t z . c o mLast update - 18:00 29/03/2009 Palestinian youth orchestra disbanded over concert for Holocaust survivorsBy The Associated Press
Palestinian authorities disbanded a youth orchestra from a West Bank refugee camp after it played for a group of Holocaust survivors in Israel, a local official said on Sunday.

Adnan Hindi of the Jenin camp called the Holocaust a political issue and accused conductor Wafa Younis of unknowingly dragging the children into a political dispute.

He added that Younis has been barred from the camp and the apartment where she taught the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra has been boarded up.

"She exploited the children," said Hindi, the head of the camp's popular committee, which takes on municipal duties. "She will be forbidden from doing any activities.... We have to protect our children and our community."

The move highlights the sensitivity of many Palestinians over a…

CNN: "Top Jewish groups denounce cartoon about Gaza"

Top Jewish groups denounce cartoon about Gaza

Find this article at: here is a link to the cartoon itself: (CNN) -- Two leading Jewish watchdog groups are denouncing a prominent cartoonist's illustration about Israel's offensive in Gaza, saying it uses anti-Semitic imagery.The Anti-Defamation League, which has been fighting anti-Semitism since it was founded in 1913, called the syndicated cartoon by Pulitzer Prize-winning Pat Oliphant "hideously anti-Semitic."The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which, among other things, fights anti-Semitism and educates people about the Holocaust, said "the cartoon mimics the venomous anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazi and Soviet eras."Published Wednesday in newspapers and on the Internet, the cartoon shows the small figure of a woman, labeled Gaza, carrying a child. She is being pursued by a headless, jackbooted …

an invitation to join HaYom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism (inline and attached)

HaYom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism Dear Hevre:The Hayom Coalition is made up of the leadership of congregations across the United States and Canada for the purpose of transforming the United Synagogue and ultimately the Conservative Movement.While there are large numbers of creative and well functioning congregations of all sizes that exemplify the very best of our approach to Jewish life, there is also a sense that we are failing as a movement.We launched the Hayom Coalition (see full list of names below) out of a true sense of urgency: the time to act is now.Our name was chosen to convey the notion that the work that we undertake cannot wait until tomorrow!We are certain that synagogues and their leadership have the power to not only challenge the institutional structure of the Conservative Movement, but to bring our considerable resources, creativity and expertise to bear in order to effect real and lasting change. As a first step, 25 large congrega…

Time for a merger?: East Bay Jewish leaders push for ‘new relationship’ between federations

Time for a merger?: East Bay Jewish leaders push for 'new relationship' between federations Thursday, March 26, 2009 | by dan pine

Twenty-nine rabbis and Jewish community leaders from across the Bay Area have signed a letter urging closer ties between the East Bay and S.F.-based Jewish Community Federations. They even threw in the "m" word: merger.The March 18 letter was sent to Rabbi James Brandt, interim executive director of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, and to that federation's board of directors.Menachem Creditor The letter calls for "a new relationship between the East Bay Federation and the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, including the possibility of a merger. We are writing in strong support of engaging in this urgently needed trans-bay discussion." The letter goes on to ci… Living Out Our Values in Cyberspace Living Out Our Values in Cyberspace By Clenchner Created 02/10/2009 - 09:53
At a recent nonprofit technology conference where I was working the exhibit hall for my employer, two seasoned Jewish professionals from one of the Federations came over to chat. My standard line as a salesperson is, "what can I do to put you in a new database today?" but for the Federation Jews, I dropped the shtick. I told them:"Our online database is a tool to help you develop more personal relationships with larger numbers of supporters, who may or may not be donors. By messaging to the particular interests of those on your lists, and listening to their feedback, you can develop a stronger sense of connection with many people, especially younger Jews who might be first time donors or new to the mainstream Jewish world."

And so they asked: "What would we need to do to run this kind of system?"

I …

Are We Trapped in God's Video Game?

Are We Trapped in God's Video Game?10.15.2007Probably not. And no, he's not looking at your underwear. by Jaron Lanier
There are certain questions about virtual reality (VR) that I've been asked a few times a day, every day, for over a quarter century. The e-mails still come in, from a kid in Korea or a grandmother in Australia: Will VR ever get so good that we will no longer be able to tell it's VR? Is it possible we are already living in VR? Recently even The New York Times got into the act, interpreting an argument from philosopher Nick Bostrom to mean that "it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else's computer simulation."When these questions come up, I usually try to redirect the inquirer's attention to the world of actual VR research, because that topic is richer than most people realize. But readers of this column know I am as friendly as can be …