In 1890, in his message to the first convention of the CCAR, Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise shared the following:
“Whatever advances the spirit of Judaism in its true character … it is the right and duty of the united rabbis in conference assembled to do, and do it well., in the name of God and Israel, for the sake of our country and our people, for the triumph of truth, humanity, and righteousness.”
Here we are, almost 130 years later. This charge continues to inspire us, lifting our souls, grounding our mission, and igniting our values.
Andrea Goldstein and I were honored to co-chair the nominating committee for the next generation of the CCAR Board. Our committee took very seriously the sacred task of finding those in our Conference who would not only perpetuate the vision inspired by Wise, but also those whose can propel us into the future.
What does that include:
- It was important that the board maintain a sense of continuity so that the new board felt they were able to hit the ground running right away (especially with the retirement of Steve Fox)
- Diversity– specifically we were looking to create a more diverse board when it came to gender, LGBTQ colleagues and non-pulpit rabbis. We were less concerned, this year, with geographic diversity or in looking at the size of the congregations or organizations that our colleagues served.
- Dynamic Initiative– we were looking for colleagues whom we believed would not just fulfill the expectations of being a CCAR board members, but who would go above and beyond in working to improve our conference.
- Finally, we were looking at an intangible quality that we referred to as “rabbis who make us want to be better rabbis” – rabbis who inspire us and continue to remind us of why our jobs are meaningful.
When the Conference unanimously affirmed our new slate, the Lamp that we are eternally lighting grew brighter, and the dream of Rabbi Wise transformed into the prophetic promise of our leadership. MAZAL TOV to our new leaders, and THANK YOU to all who have served on this past board.
It was so meaningful being a part of this process. Each and every member of the CCAR is a descendant of incredible vision. We are also ancestors to those who will transform goodness.
Rabbi Zach Shapiro serves Temple Akiba of Culver City, California.