>It is hard to put into words the experience that was the CCAR Convention 2010. There is first of all something amazing about being surrounded by about 500 colleagues; people who share passions, ideas and experiences. For me it was also special to be back on the west coast with friends and teachers I was delighted to see. And I was especially lucky to have my older brother-in-law Brian looking out for me and taking care of me.
Some of the highlights and ideas which I want to share:
Erev Rav Dan Medwin led a wonderful session on Visual T’filah. His insights, experiences and teachings were masterful. I am intrigued by the prospect of leading visual services for children and families at West London Synagogue, and also perhaps for RSY-Netzer. Some people will be reluctant to put the Siddur to one side. But the potential for a service on a screen, with visual niggunim, pictorial kavanot and artistic interpretations of prayer is something which I personally find very exciting.
I also spent some time with the folks from the Mission Minyan in San Francisco. The way that they bring together such a diverse group of Jews, finding a way to pray together is inspiring. For us involved in synagogue life it can seem threatening that people are finding Jewish community outside of our traditional institutions. But it seems like we have a lot to learn about what makes these places attractive, to bring into the synagogue; and with their focus solely on prayer, I am convinced that we in synagogue life still have a role to play in providing meaningful Jewish community and experiences.
Finally, I think the most important thing I learnt at CCAR was the importance of Ben Zoma’s words: eyzeh who chacham: halomed mikol adam – Who is wise? The person who learns from everyone. Spending time with Rabbis, hearing about their experiences, sharing ideas and learning from them is so tremendously valuable, we need to find opportunities to do this both in person and when we’re not all at conferences together.