Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another president from the South Side of Chicago

I'm off to Israel for the installation of Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus of Homewood IL as president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. The Chicago Jewish News has a cover story with an extensive interview.

Some highlights:

Another consideration involves the younger generation of Jews. "The way the whole world and the Jewish community are changing, I'm concerned that we as a community, including the rabbinate, need to be more flexible and agile about how we respond to a generation that may not join brick and mortar synagogues in the same way their parents and grandparents did," she says. "If we are going to be relevant and serve the Jews of the up-and-coming generation, then we need to rethink who we are as a community and rethink the institutions of our community. These conversations are starting to happen and I want Reform rabbis and CCAR to be part of the conversation and not simply react."


"Outreach" is a Jewish community buzzword, but, she says, "it's not just a question of doing outreach to Jews in their 20s and 30s with the ulterior motive that they join our existing congregations. I think we need to be bold in rethinking what community means. This is a generation that has virtual communities. If we keep thinking that whatever has been sufficient in the last 150 years is going to be sufficient in this century, we have another think coming."

The fact that a significant percentage of the Jewish community does not affiliate with a synagogue "says something about them, but it also says something about synagogues," she says. "There are many things we're doing right but I don't think we can sit on our laurels."

Mazal tov and good luck to Rabbi Dreyfus!


  1. *analyzes context*

    This is your mom, right? Mazel tov!

  2. I don't know if there's such a direct relation, but she's definitely related. She's the daughter of Rabbi Stanley Dreyfus ZTz"L, who is BZ's grandfather.

  3. Daughter-in-law. And yes. (I'm in the article.)