The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Thirteen people from Larchmont Temple formed a Delegation to the 2017 Consultation on Conscience; only 3 had ever been there before. We were all looking forward to the experience of learning and being together. Once there, we were inspired by the legislators, leaders in the non-profit world and fellow congregants who spoke about current issue of social justice. We participated in workshops about these issues, engaged in discussions of how our Jewish text and values inform our thinking and explored ways we, as a congregation, could engage in civic engagement. The RAC (Religious Action Center) challenged those present at the Consultation to meet with their congregational leadership and sign onto a “Brit Olam” (“Covenant with our World”), to ‘commit to… advancing Jewish values in the public sphere.’
We returned home motivated to follow up on this challenge. Our enthusiasm and commitment were contagious: in October the Board of Trustees signed the Brit Olam; in April, one year later, they approved a Social Justice Initiative; in July, we had our first meeting of a newly formed Social Justice Leadership Group. For each step forward, we are grateful to the RAC for its assistance in providing us with the ongoing guidance and support we needed. - Lynn Reichgott, Larchmont Temple, Larchmont, NY
The 2017 Consultation on Conscience was my second Consultation, but it was an elevated experience, as this time I attended it with a delegation of my social justice leaders. We attended separate workshops on topics that were important to us as individuals and as leaders in our Tikkun Olam work. We also used time throughout the weekend to reflect on our previous initiatives, discuss new ideas, and vision for years ahead. Ultimately, we came back stronger, well-equipped, and even more committed to repair our world. – Sandy Aronson, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA
I highly recommend this conference for rabbis, cantors, and congregational leaders. Not only were the speakers and workshops all worthwhile but ensuring our Reform Jewish voices were heard in our lobby visits on Capitol Hill was a moving experience for our Delegation as well. Our religious and family values were affirmed. We came home energized and became active in local campaigns against gun violence, hunger, and in support of refugees. - Rabbi Joseph Meszler, Temple Sinai, Sharon, MA
In 2017, we had six people attend the Consultation, four of them first-timers! With that many people, we could cover different workshops and share the information with each other afterwards. We didn’t all know each other before we went, so this experience helped us build new relationships and deepen existing ones, and it also led to some collaboration after we got home that might not have happened otherwise. – Shelly Cohen, Temple Beth Am, Seattle, WA
The Consultation on Conscience was a pivotal event in the life of our congregation. We brought back with us an action plan and a way to way to activate our religious voice for social change and tikkun olam. Everyone who went felt as though they were doing something positive to deal with the destructive forces we see around us. This was not just "screaming into the wind" or ranting for the sake of feeling better - this was a true and real action that changed our community for the better. - Rabbi Philip Bazeley, Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple, New Brunswick, NJ
The 2017 Consultation on Conscience was an incredible experience: 800 Reform Jews, all social justice activists, convened to be motivated by incredible speakers, take part in workshops, to lobby our legislators on Capitol Hill, and more. The members of our delegation who had never attended a Consultation agreed that it was a life-changing event and returned inspired to “live our values” and engage in “Tikkun Olam”- healing the world- at home in our communities and congregation. - Harriet Lavin, Beth Hillel Temple, Kenosha, WI