On March 1st, 2011 a new voice announced itself to the Conservative Movement. The "Mahar Coalition" (literally "The Tomorrow Coalition"), a group of devoted Conservative college students whose souls have been inspired by KOACH, the Conservative Movement's college outreach program, organized on campuses across the country and articulated a critique of the USCJ's proposal to eventually discontinue its funding for KOACH (as part of the draft Strategic Plan to be voted upon by the USCJ Board on March 13). The Mahar Coalition explicitly modeled itself after the Hayom Coalition (literally "The Today Coalition"), a grassroots coalition of Conservative/ Masorti rabbis, cantors, and congregational leaders who first met with the leadership of the USCJ on March 19th, 2009.
That dialogue has led to the proposed USCJ Strategic Plan. But Hayom's aim is the Conservative Movement, in which the USCJ is a part. The Mahar Coalition's passionate campaign to demand appropriate funding (far beyond historic allocations) for Conservative Judaism on Campus demonstrates that tomorrow (Mahar) and today (Hayom) have much in common. As Rabbi Morris Allen wrote in a comment on the Mahar Coalition's Facebook page: "There is no meaning in Today without a belief in Tomorrow."
This ShefaJournal includes the online Shefa conversation about the USCJ Strategic Plan, contributions from several Mahar leaders, as well as comments from leaders within the North American Conservative/Masorti world and beyond articulating visions for our Movement's future. Parts of the Movement are struggling with long institutional histories. Other parts of the Movement are writing new chapters. Positive-Historical Judaism, the philosophical premise of Conservative Judaism, is precisely about this dreamworthy process.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom || Bay Area Masorti || ShefaNetwork.org