The CPC has monthly meetings to plan and discuss Kolot programming at RRC. The goal of Kolot programming is to educate and inspire the college community to incorporate gender perspectives in understanding the texts and the practices of Judaism. The CPC is composed of three students elected by the Rabbinical Student Association (RSA) and two faculty members elected by the faculty. Each elected member serves a two-year term. In addition, the Kolot Student Intern, the Kolot Academic Director, and the Dean of Students serve on the CPC as ex-officio, voting members. Meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend. Every year, after the student representatives are elected, the CPC chooses a student to serve as the chair of the committee.
As a way of focusing our programming, every year the CPC chooses a theme. Past themes have included “Jewish Women and Social Action,” “Gender in the Rabbinate,” “Gender in the Arts,” “Jewish Feminist Men,” “Ad-Dressing the Body,” “Gender, Language, and Liturgy,” “Gender and Textuality” and “Jewish Men and Jewish Women in Popular Culture,” and “Gender Roles and the Jewish Family.”
Kolot typically sponsors one College Time program each semester that focuses on the year’s theme, one of which is conceptual and academic and the other of which is practical. The CPC also plans a variety of lunchtime programs throughout the year that focus on the designated theme.
In 2001, Kolot endowed the Henny Wenkart Kolot Writer-in-Residence program. The endowment enables Kolot to continue in perpetuity the annual tradition of bringing a feminist Jewish writer to offer both a public reading and a separate learning opportunity for students, usually in the form of a writing workshop. The program helps the next generation of rabbis to incorporate this literature into liturgy and helps rabbinical students with their own writing for the rabbinate. Alicia Ostriker and Eleanor Wilner offered the prototype in 1996, and Kolot writers-in-residence have included Marge Piercy, Merle Feld, Linda Zisquit, David Ehrlich, Nessa Rapoport, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, and Jennifer Weiner.
Domestic Violence Resources
The Kolot CPC has a tradition of bringing issues of domestic violence in the Jewish community to light in the training of rabbinical students. Every fall, new students receive a packet of information, prepared by the CPC intern, on local and national domestic violence resources, both Jewish and secular. In addition, a domestic violence workshop has been offered every three or four years, so that each student who graduates from RRC can receive training in how to recognize and address problems of domestic violence.
Ta’anit Esther Program
Every year Kolot plans a program for The Fast of Esther that focuses on the struggles of women around the world. Ta’anit Esther events have included an awareness program on Afghan women, a performance piece on violence against women, a program on body awareness, and a performance of The Vagina Monologues on behalf of the V-Day fund. The program takes place during lunchtime, and Kolot honors the fast by collecting students’ lunch money to support an appropriate charitable organization. In addition, Kolot volunteers lead the Tuesday morning davening before the Ta’anit Esther program and include prayers and readings to spiritually prepare us for the program.
CPC develops its own budget based on a $5,000 annual allocation from Kolot and interest money from the Marie Barr Endowment Fund, from which the Kolot Intern is paid.
Outline of a Standard CPC Year at RRC
Domestic violence packets handed out to new students
College Time program (conceptual)
Lunchtime or after-school programs (at least 2)
Writer-in-Residence public reading and workshop
College Time program (practical)
Lunchtime programs (at least 2)
Ta’anit Esther program and davening
Select theme for coming year and begin the planning process