More than 40 rabbis and rabbinical students, from across the denominational spectrum, will participate in a global justice leadership retreat in Reisterstown, Maryland from February 20 to 23. In its second year, the conference, called the Rabbinical Students Delegation Alumni Institute (RSD Alumni Institute), will focus on leveraging participants’ power to elevate global justice as a core expression of Jewish tradition, both locally and in the larger North American Jewish community.
All RSD Alumni Institute participants have traveled with American Jewish World Service (AJWS), which sends two multi-denominational groups of rabbinical students and graduate students pursuing careers in Jewish communal leadership and one group of early-career rabbis to the developing world each year. During these delegations, participants live and work alongside AJWS’s grassroots partners for 10 to 14 days. While in the field, participants grapple with Jewish texts and theology in order to make sense of the struggles for social justice and human rights. Upon return, they work together, as part of the Rabbinical Students Delegation Alumni Network (RSD Alumni Network), to bring a sophisticated understanding of global citizenship to their communities.
The RSD Alumni Network consists of more than 230 students, rabbis, educators and Jewish communal professionals working in synagogues, day schools, Hillels, Jewish social justice organizations, camps and seminaries. The Institute serves as the cornerstone of the RSD Alumni Network and is designed to provide a forum for developing strategies, deepening knowledge and building a cohesive leadership body. AJWS believes that through efforts like the RSD Alumni Institute, rabbinical students and early-career rabbis will be increasingly well-equipped to lead a robust Jewish effort at advancing human rights and social justice around the world.