Rabbinic Reflection: Rabbi Jordan Helfman
This Saturday night, the World Union of Progressive Judaism conference, which I co-chaired with Nitzan Barak (Israel) and Hannah Verhulst (the Netherlands) drew to a close.
It was a strange thing to be in my home, with over 1,000 participants in the event platform, and over 2,000 more watching on our livestream.
The big event was the installation of Rabbi Sergio Bergman as WUPJ President, as well as having moments to schmooze with and learn from him. His vision of the WUPJ is one that ties us all more closely with Israel and brings support to small Jewish communities all over the world.
Holy Blossom Temple played a major role in the event. Our member, Carole Sterling, delivered remarks at both the opening and closing ceremonies from our Bimah. Cantor Rosen contributed to the Saturday morning Shacharit from our Main Sanctuary. And Rabbi Splansky moderated a keynote address with some of the world’s most preeminent thinkers from her COVID office.
While I am not sure we’ll have any new wedding couples based on this year’s convention, the learning lingers longer.
The best-of list, of course, includes sessions organized and featuring many of our members:
- I moderated “Rabbi as a Reflection of Community” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKhWc1iUDuo
- Ann Rosenfield presented, “Set Yourself up for Fundraising Success”
- Rabbi Noam Katz moderated, “Music of the Heart”
- Avishai Sol and Logan Petersiel performed in the “Last Night Show: North America”
- Cantor Rosen and I are both in the conference’s Shacharit L’Shabbat Service:
- Rabbi Bill Tepper presented, “Surpassing the Stumbling Blocks Accessibility and Virtual Communications”
- I co-moderated, “Connecting to Israel Shared Society”
- Rabbi Splansky moderated the keynote, “The WUPJ Jewish Effective Giving Initiative – A Call to Action”
- Rabbi Ilyse Glickman moderated, “How Wide is the Tent”
- Tema Smith presented, “Working with Interfaith Families”
- and Daniel Abramson presented, “The Tikkun Project”
All of these and more are present in the on-demand section of the WUPJ conference platform for those who registered and will be released on youtube slowly for those that did not.
Thank you to all who make your voluntary contributions, and the many who make time contributions as well to the WUPJ – including Executive Board Member Les Rothschild – and Denes Rothschild who provided a small film crew for one of our aliyot.
Under Rabbi Bergman’s leadership and Carole Sterling’s guidance, I know the WUPJ will continue to enrich our community through its connection to an international family.
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