Beginning today and for the week I will be attending the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis Conference. I had the privilege of serving as President of PARR. I am just a regular member now. This is a New Year’s tradition. The first week in January for over 80 years the West Coast Reform Rabbis gather together to pray, study, discuss, teach and laugh. There are more than 189 of us that gather!
It is very important for your rabbi to do so. Rabbinic learning is essential. It helps us be better teachers. It exposes us to the latest thinking in Jewish life. And yes it provides inspiration for sermons and classes. The learning and being together with other rabbis help us become better people!
Our days there are packed. We begin early in the day with Study with different scholars from our seminary and then pray and then we have the main scholarly presentation. We will hear from the Consul General of Israel and also the leaders of our seminary and our National Reform Movement. In the afternoons we take turns offering different classes to one another. In the evenings there are additional scholars presentations and workshops, services and presentations. This year there is a discussion on the changing nature of Jewish burial practices in one late night session. And there is time to sing.
Each year one of the highlights is the Monday morning Torah service which is led by our fifth year rabbinic students from our seminary Hebrew Union College. These rabbinic students are soon to be ordained and soon to become our colleagues. It gives us all a chance to talk to and meet the next generations of rabbis. This helps us live out the ideal L’dor vador, from generation to generation.
There is also time for a walk, tennis , or a breakfast with old friends.
I am grateful to my congregation for the opportunity to go and to learn and see old friends. I will tweet about my time there. #parr11 Follow along and study with me!