34th ANNUAL CONVENTION
The 34th Annual Convention of NAORRR was yet another fabulous NAORRR gathering. Over 200 rabbis, spouse/partners/significant others attended and found the blending of prayer, study, socialization, and relaxation to be just right.
The Erev Shabbat Dinner and Service honored the National Jewish Welfare Board on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. Over the century the JWB has provided chaplains to serve Jewish women and men in the military. Numerous NAORRR members have served as chaplains and were honored. Rear-Admiral RabbiHarold Robinson, a NAORRR member, who recently ended many years of service as a chaplain and as head of the Jewish Welfare Board, led the Erev Shabbat Service. At the Shabbat dinner all those who had served as chaplains in any branch of the military joined in leading the Birkat Hamazon.
The Scholar-In-Residence at the convention was Rabbi Jonah Pesner, who is now the head of the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC and is Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism. His two presentations were filled with wisdom, good humor, energy and hope.
Convention attendees were warmly greeted and registered by a wonderful corps of volunteers including Jon and Jean Haddon and Fred Natkin. And each received a packet of information and a "goodie-bag"... What a great way to start
The NAORRR Board got right down to business with Richard Klein chairing the meeting. Updates on the convention program were given by Connie Golden, chair of the program committee. Other updates were given by Ralph Kingsley, Treasurer and Irwin Goldenberg, chair of the Hesed/Mitzvah Fund.
Connie Golden, 1st Vice-President and Program Chair, provided an overview of the program and introduced the opening night presenter.
Frank Waldorf, co-executive vice president, made some important announcements that helped people make their stay in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area more enjoyable. Frank was joined by his wife and co-executive vice president, Beth, in their welcoming remarks.
Deborah Prinz presented her "delicious" program based on her book "On the Chocolate Trail." Not only did she teach about the connection between Jews and chocolate --- she whetted everyone's appetite for the chocolate dessert reception that followed. What a "yummy" way to begin the 34th annual convention.
The "Chocolate" dessert reception gave everyone a chance to renew old acquaintances, meet new friends AND enjoy a variety of chocolate - all under the "hashgacha" of the Chocolate Mayvin of the rabbinate - Debbie Prinz.
Mari Chernow, senior rabbi of Temple Chai in Phoenix, gave a very warm welcome to all.
Richard Klein, NAORRR president for 2016, presided over the opening night's gathering.
Howard Kosovske and Hank Zoob led a spirited Shacharit service on Friday morning. It was truly filled with Kavannah.
The D'var Torah at the Shacharit service on Friday morning was given by Jonathan Stein. It was an "interactive" D'var Torah, giving all those in attendance a chance to share - in Chevruta style - whether they identified with Joseph or Judah.
Herb Bronstein taught masterfully about "Sci- ence vs. Religion: Not At All What It Used To Be." His encylopedic know- ledge and his great teaching style entranced and educated!!!
The title of Joyce and Steve Foster's workshop was "The Rabbi and the Senator Sleep Together." It sounded (as does their book by the same title) as if it should be "X" rated - and it was: Xceptional, Xuberant, Xalting...
Jon Haddon - cantor turned rabbi - led the workshop on "The Jewish Prayer Modes as a Source of Inspi- ration." His knowledge of liturgy was quite apparent.
Hank Bamberger led a wonderful workshop on "Will the Real Aaron Stand Up." His exploration of the biblical, rabbinic and historic texts was superb.
Steve Fuchs was a "double header"workshop leader. His first was "Seeing the Torah's Stories as Our Own" based on insights in his recently published book on legends in the Torah and their message for moderns. The second workshop was "Ten Weeks in Germany: Journeys of Reconciliation and Hope." He shared his fascinating experiences visiting communities in which his father lived and his numerous recent teaching and preaching "gigs" in German schools and churches.
Judy Blumberg Maslin led a workshop on "Rabbi and Judy: A Memoir." She shared many of the experiences, joys, satisfactions and frustrations of a modern rabbinic couple.
Rifat Sonsino - author, professor, scholar - .led a workshop on "Problems with Theism: Issues and Con- sequences in Religious Teachings Today." Those who attended this workshop were spellbound by what he taught and how he taught it.
BUSINESS IS BUSINESS - A 'PLENARY SESSION
Richard Klein presided over the Plenary Session with dispatch and skill.
Sym Prystowsky alerted the group to some of the recent acts of anti-Semitism in Montana and called for NAORRR members to express their concern for our colleage Allen Secher who lives in the area being threatened.
Michael Kimmel, the Director of the Reform Pension Board gave a report on the RPB and responded to numerous questions.
A report on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion was given by Bennett Miller on behalf of Chuck Kroloff. NAORRR members were reminded of the part they can play in supporting HUC-JIR through inclusion of HUC-JR in their estate plans - an effort of the Atid Society.
Alan Henkin, Director of the Rabbinic Placement Commission, was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by NAORRR on his approaching retirement. He was cited for his exemplary service done with integrity and sensitivity.
In his report to the plenum Alan Henkin shared statistics and insights about the current situation of rabbinic placement.
"THEY WHO CALL SHABBAT A DELIGHT"
NAORRR 2017 EREV SHABBAT DINNER AND SERVICE
A TRIBUTE TO CHAPLAINS ON THE OCCASION OF THE
100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE JEWISH WELFARE BOARD
The commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Welfare Board was led by Rear-Admiral Rabbi Harold Robinson. Harold recently served as Director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council as well as the JWB representative to the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces. In 2015 he became the first rabbi to serve as the head of NCMAF.
Retired Active Duty Chaplains- Irvin Ehrlich and Frank Waldorf - were among those who led the Motzi at the Erev Shabbat Dinner.
Birkat Hamazon was led by all those who had served in the military over the years. NAORRR expressed its great pride in its many members who had served as chaplains
Bonnie Koppel and Harold Robinson - both chaplains - led the Erev Shabbat Service. The Siddur that was used for this service was the new Siddur being published by the Jewish Welfare Board. In his remarks at the service Harold Robinson reviewed some of the highlights of the work of the Jewish Welfare Board over the last 100 years and shared some of the challenges and needs of today.
As part of the Erev Shabbat service those ordained in 1967 were presented with Certificates of Honorary Life Membership by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Alan Henkin represented the CCAR in conferring this honor upon the "Golden Jubilee" celebrants.