Pluralism is a term that we often hear used and defined according to our own predilections and experiences. Living together with diversity is an ideal that is fraught with tensions; finding common ground requires strength, vision and a good sense of humor. This is especially true when we confront diversity in our Jewish beliefs and observances.
Some schools find the hot buttons around who wears kippot and when. Others find the definition of kashrut troublesome. Some members of a school community solicit money at Shabbat dinners that everyone drives to, when others would never carry money or drive. As a head of school, we find these (and many more!) issues brought to our door. “Why can’t everyone just get along?” a parent of a current fourth grader asked me early in the year. This question could be directed not only to student behavior but also to questions of pluralism.
There are moments when our textured community works. Such moments are seen at the RAVSAK conferences. The diversity manifests in multiple minyanim, head coverings, Hebrew language facility, geographic, pedagogical, and political variety—in fact, all aspects of the North American Jewish community are present in our temporary gathering. We see a possibility of what can be. And this we all take home with us as inspiration and as opportunity. I hope to see all of you in Teaneck, New Jersey, this January, to become immersed in an ideal common ground. We are given the most wonderful opportunity to see old friends, meet new colleagues, learn, share and grow together.
RAVSAK has been part of my life for many years now, and I thank all of the past presidents, along with past and present Executive Committee members for their contributions and wisdom. As I step down from the presidency, I know that able professionals and volunteer leaders will support this amazing organization to the next stage, fortunate under the strong leadership of the new Board of Directors and Dr. Marc Kramer.
RAVSAK needs our support, and I encourage all of you to contact the New York office to volunteer, to support our programs, to be as generous as you are able. This support from RAVSAK has been integral for so many of us, and will continue for many years to come.
See you in Teaneck for the conference!
Susan Weintrob is the President of RAVSAK and the Head of School at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School in Foster City, CA. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
Each fall, the seventh grade students in my Jewish social studies class begin the year by participating in the Jewish Court of All Time online simulation. JCAT is an innovative learning adventure that is a joint venture between the University of Cincinnati’s...[More]
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