Feb 26, 2014

The ShefaNetwork Moves On

Dear Chevreh,

Over the last 9+ years, the ShefaNetwork has morphed many times, from an online conversation, to 3 conferences and a Learning Mission to the Conservative Yeshiva, to 9 journals, and, most recently to a book, archiving all of the journals for posterity. Shefa's website migrated from a yahoogroup to a formal website, and finally to the most recent incarnation as a blog: http://shefanetwork.blogspot.com/. There remains much work to be done before the mission of the ShefaNetwork, "to bring together dreamers from within the Conservative/Masorti Movement and to give their dreams an audible voice" is accomplished.

(The ongoing need for movemental healing is well-attested to by these two recent publications: today's NY Jewish Week OpEd by Jerome A. Chanes, "What Went Wrong With Conservative Judaism?" & last week's ejewishphilanthropy piece by Rabbi Eric M. Lankin, entitled "The Missing Piece.")

The important news is that that the two things everyone seems to agree upon - and care about - are:
  • 1) Conservative Jews are the majority on the ground and in leadership positions in so many national and local Jewish efforts (Avodah, Hadar, Hazon, AJWS, NIF, AIPAC, T'ruah, etc...)
  • 2) The vital middle Jewish stream must survive for the Jewish community to endure
So, as the ShefaNetwork morphs yet again into an infrequent email list and a more static website (http://shefanetwork.blogspot.com), the work goes on in many spheres, only some of which are institutions of the movement. Perhaps this is proof of the success of Schechter's desire to see our ideology spread broadly within "Catholic Israel" and Kaplan's innovative Jewish delivery systems of shuls as "Community Centers." Regardless of what has been accomplished to date, the need is ever greater for strength and dynamism throughout the Jewish institutions and far beyond. That was why, over 9 years ago, we chose the name "Shefa", to help Torah "flow" (Shefa translates literally as "flow") within the world.

May we all do our part in amplifying others' creative souls.

Kol Tuv,