From today through Monday, the Jewish Emergent Network – a collaboration between seven Jewish organizations from across the United States – is kicking off its inaugural project, the Rabbinic Fellowship, with a dynamic, content-rich Shabbat-based New York City convening to welcome its first cohort of rabbinic fellows. The convening will be hosted by Romemu, one of the Network’s New York-based organizations. Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat morning services will be held at Romemu and open to the broader Jewish community.
The goal of the Fellowship is to create the next generation of entrepreneurial, risk-taking change-makers, whose skills will equally prepare them to initiate independent communities and be valuable and valued inside existing Jewish institutions and synagogues. Each fellow will be steeped in the spirit and best practices of the Network organizations and poised to educate, engage, and serve an array of target populations, especially young adults and families with young children. During the convening, the Fellows will be engaged in programming focused on God, rabbinic skills, davening, program design, self-assessment and more. Through curriculum designed by the Network and consultant group ChangeCraft and facilitated by a variety of teachers, fellows will experience case studies, immersive sessions, group conversations, music, and prayer side by side with the clergy and leadership of the seven communities. A core component of the convening will be a multi-session deep dive into the Romemu community and how it crafted and implements its vibrant services.
The first cohort of Network fellows includes: Rabbi Nate DeGroot at IKAR in Los Angeles, Rabbi Sydney Danziger at Kavana in Seattle, Rabbi Jonathan Bubis at The Kitchen in San Francisco, Rabbi Lauren Henderson at Mishkan in Chicago, Rabbi Suzy Stone at Sixth & I in Washington, DC, Rabbi Kerry Chaplin at Lab/Shul in New York City, and Rabbi Joshua Buchin at host community Romemu, also in New York City.
The Fellowship placed these select, early-career rabbis into each of the seven participating Network organizations for a two-year period, in order to train the next generation of enterprising rabbis to take on the challenges and realities of 21st-century Jewish life in America in a variety of settings. The seven organizations in the Network are all devoted to revitalizing the field of Jewish engagement. While each community is different in form and organizational structure, all have taken an entrepreneurial approach to this shared vision, operating outside of traditional institutional models and rethinking basic assumptions about US Jewish communities with regard to prayer, membership models, staff structures, the religious/cultural divide, and physical space.
The Fellows have been embedded in their new communities since July 1st. Each Fellow will take on a variety of independent rabbinic tasks and will receive weekly supervision and support from leaders within the host organization. Throughout the two-year program, fellows will meet seven times as a fully assembled cohort, including the inaugural convening, traveling to each of the seven Network organizations for intensive site visits at which they will learn from Network and non-Network rabbis, teachers and other experts from around the country. The final site visit, planned for the first Shabbat of June 2018 at IKAR in Los Angeles, will also include a public-facing conference that welcomes clergy, staff, and lay leaders from across the country to engage with the fellows and share best practices of innovation and creativity with regard to Jewish community building. Towards the end of the first cohort, a second cohort of rabbinic fellows will be selected and placed.
Seed funding for the first four years of this program has been generously provided through a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Crown Family, the Charles H. Revson Foundation and Natan. Network members are continuing to secure additional program funding over the next four years.