JEWISH RECONSTRUCTIONIST MOVEMENT UNIFIES,
CREATING ONE GOVERNING ORGANIZATION
Congregational delegates ratify proposal to unite with the
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
WYNCOTE, PA—(April 10, 2011)—Delegates from the 105 congregations of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (JRF) have voted overwhelmingly to join with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) to create a new unified governing structure that will guide the movement in the 21st century.
At a special meeting in Philadelphia on April 10, lay representatives of the movement passed a proposal to create a single organization that will include a united board made up of lay leaders and rabbis, a united professional staff, and a single chief executive. The plan previously had been approved by the boards of both JRF and RRC, Reconstructionist Judaism’s only seminary.
The new organization also will include formal participation by rabbis from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA). The RRA will remain an independent professional association representing the 310 rabbis in the movement.
“The Reconstructionist movement always has recognized the necessity of change,” said Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, president of RRC, who will assume professional leadership of the new organization. “By combining our unique rabbinical and lay resources, we are poised to fulfill our mission of enhancing Jewish leadership, learning and living for a new generation of North American Jews.”
The April 10 authorization follows nearly two years of discussions among all parts of the movement about how to better align its resources with the evolving demands of contemporary Jewish life. Now begins a short, intense planning process to finalize the details of the new organization, which is slated to launch formally in the fall of 2011.
Movement leaders believe that a unified organization will eliminate duplication of administration and communication efforts, allowing for more focused planning and ensuring a more efficient use of communal funds.
A single Reconstructionist organization will have the capacity to act nimbly, to continue to respond to new challenges and opportunities. It will help expand Reconstructionism’s recognized role as a laboratory for spiritual and intellectual innovation in the Jewish community, with influence that goes far beyond its numbers.
In recent years, the Reconstructionist movement has not only created new programs to serve its affiliated congregations; it also has expanded its reach, nurturing Jewish engagement outside of the congregational setting. Reconstructionist rabbis often work with college-age Jews and with seniors; and as chaplains, they serve many individuals and families. The movement also has created opportunities for people to connect to Judaism through online media.
“The Reconstructionist movement is committed to meeting Jews ‘where they are,’” said Ehrenkrantz. “The new structure will create the opportunity for a united vision and the ability to bring all available energy to that commitment.”