Mar 1, 2011

Fwd: [Shefa] KOACH and the Future of the Conservative Movement - Introducing the Mahar Coalition

Dear Chevreh,

The forwarded message below from the Mahar Coalition of college students is an affirmation of the future of Masorti/Conservative Judaism.  May this passionate call from our future leaders remind us of our deepest sacred dreams.  

Please read the message below, check this emerging Masorti/Conservative voice out on YouTube ( Facebook (, read the official statement on the Mahar blog at, and sign the Mahar petition at

As my teacher and friend Nina Kretzmer (BC/JTS '14) writes below, - now is the time for our dreams to come into reality.  May the communities of Masorti/Conservative Judaism breathe in all the spirit being offered by our college students.

With renewed hope,

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom  || Bay Area Masorti  || 
Rabbis for Women of the Wall  || 
To join Rabbi Creditor's email list, send a blank email to

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nina S. Kretzmer <>
Date: Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 6:43 PM
Subject: [Shefa] KOACH and the Future of the Conservative Movement - Introducing the Mahar Coalition
To: Shefa <>

Dear Shefa chevreh and members of the Hayom Coalition,
As someone who has shared a sacred conversation with you about the future of the Conservative Movement and as a student at Barnard College and List College, I urge you to think about the future of KOACH. KOACH is made of groups of Conservative Jewish college students, groups who are no less of kehillot - sacred communties - than any synagogue. KOACH is made of kehillot that hold the potential for the future of the Conservative Movement. As Conservative kehillot, they deserve the full support, especially that of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, to "ensure a vigorous and vibrant future," as the Mahar Coalition official statement says (see below).
In recent days and in forums such as last Shabbat's KOACH Kallah at Northwestern University, the Mahar Coalition was established by Conservative college students - KOACH members - concerned with the plans for KOACH as outlined in the recent USCJ Strategic Plan. Mahar has been established ideologically in a similar and more specific way to the Hayom Coalition. Hayom, from the beginning, has been concerned with the connection between as well as the strength and support of Conservative kehillot. We all know that our kehillot, in general, have great potential in the creation and implementation of a bright future for the Conservative Movement. Mahar believes that KOACH binds kehillot that hold such potential, as we are "committed to making Conservative Judaism a viable option for the 21st century". Mahar asserts that KOACH's immediate goals are to give Conservative college students the skills necessary to create exciting and nurturing Conservative Jewish communities on campus and thus to give Conservative college students a home. Grants, KOACH Kallah, and KOACH Shabbat help to achieve these goals, especially in small, developing campus chapters with minimal infrastructure. Some kehillot do not find support for these goals within the Hillels in which they are housed. We are not unlike the kehillot that we all care about, trying to provide homes to Conservative Jews and searching for the support to do so successfully.
Like Hayom, we support a transformation of USCJ (and also of KOACH) into an organization providing much-needed resources, expertise, grants, and learning and spiritual development opportunities. We are in favor of this value-added model and hope to both contribute to and benefit from this model in a cost-effective manner. We wish to also create partnerships between campuses and shuls, kehillah to kehillah. All of our kehillot can become stronger through collaboration, such as on education and social action projects.
But whether it be part of USCJ or not, we believe that KOACH should remain an exciting and beneficial resource and home for Conservative college students and deserves to be supported as such. No matter what our backgrounds may be, thousands of students have been affected by KOACH and are invested in fulfilling its potential to serve an important need on college campuses. We ask for your support, as a group of concerned laypeople and clergy who are invested in the potential of kehillot, in the face of the vote to approve the USCJ Strategic Plan and of this generally pivotal time in the history of our Movement. It is the concern of all dedicated, caring Conservative Jews to ensure that there continues to be a viable, strong, and meaningful Conservative presence on college campuses across North America. Hayom's investment in Mahar is an investment in a brighter future - a brighter mahar - for all of the kehillot we hold so dear and for the Conservative Movement.
We invite you to check us out on YouTube ( and Facebook ( and to look at our official statement on our blog at Most importantly, please sign our petition at is the time for our dreams to come into reality.

Nina S. Kretzmer
BC/JTS '14
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