Jewish Community Unbound:
How creative, enthusiastic and determined young
Jews are re-shaping the Jewish community, here and worldwide, and what
the paradigm shift in Jewish community building, development, and
organization means for the Jewish future.
With this event, The Jewish Forum
presents an opportunity to meet a representative group of these
visionaries and dynamic leaders.
Sunday, March 7, 2010, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Congregation Beth Ahm
5075 West Maple Rd., West Bloomfield,
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer,
Rabbi Ethan Tucker,
Joshua Lichtman, AVODAH and
Cheryl Cook, HAZON
Jon Koller and Leor Barak,
Isaac Agree Downtown
Admission and Reservations:
$10 per person; $5 for students.
Payment may be made at the door, but please reserve in advance,
by e-mail to
or by calling 248-354-6415, x2.
10:00 - 10:30 am Check-in, coffee
10:30 - 11:25 am Rabbis Ethan Tucker and Elie Kaunfer on Mechon Hadar
and Empowered Judaism
11:25 - 11:35 am Short break
11:35 - 12:30 pm Panel, including presentations by Joshua Lichtman,
Cheryl Cook, Jon Koller & Leor Barak, and audience Q&A.
MECHON HADAR (National)
Mechon Hadar is an institute that empowers young Jews who build vibrant
Jewish communities through two initiatives: Yeshivat Hadar,
the first full-time egalitarian yeshiva in
North America, and The Minyan
networking and consulting for more than 50 independent minyanim
The founders of Mechon Hadar have spent years teaching
and building Jewish community, and have served as founders and leaders of
Kehilat Hadar, an independent, egalitarian community committed to spirited
traditional prayer, study and social action.
Representatives: Rabbis Elie Kaunfer and Ethan Tucker
Rabbi Elie Kaunfer is co-founder, rosh yeshiva and executive director
of Mechon Hadar and on the Talmud faculty at Yeshivat Hadar. A graduate of
Harvard College, he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where
he also completed an MA and is pursuing a doctorate in liturgy. A Wexner
Graduate Fellow, Elie is a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and in 2009
Newsweek named him one of the top 50 rabbis in America. He was selected as
an inaugural AVI CHAI Fellow. Rabbi Kaunfer will discuss his
new book, in which he addresses the phenomenon that is a theme
of this event: Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach
Us About Building Vibrant Jewish Communities (Jewish Lights, 2010).
Rabbi Ethan Tucker is co-founder
and rosh yeshiva at Mechon Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Ethan was a
faculty member at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, where he
taught Talmud and Halakhah in the Scholars Circle. Ethan was ordained by
the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics
from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard College. A
Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner
of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship.
AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps (National)
The Jewish Service Corps engages young people in direct work on the causes
and effects of poverty in the United States. Participants in our service
Corps program live out and deepen their commitments to social change and
Jewish life through a year of full-time work at anti-poverty organizations
in Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, DC. This work partners
Corps members with service providers and residents in low income
communities and equips our Corps members and alumni to emerge as lifelong
agents for social change, whose work for justice is rooted in and
nourished by Jewish values. After participants complete this intensive
one-year program, AVODAH's partnership with American Jewish World Service
provides a broad platform for long-term leadership in social change and
Josh Lichtman grew up in the Detroit area where he was active
in BBYO. He is now the New Orleans Program Director of AVODAH. Josh has
worked for a number of Jewish organizations including Hillel at Florida
State University and the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. He
studied law at New York University School of Law but got more pleasure
from studying farming at ADAMAH: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship.
Jewish Environmental Fellowship (National)
ADAMAH: The Jewish Environmental Fellowship is a three month leadership
training program for Jewish young adults — ages 20–29 —that integrates
organic farming, sustainable living, Jewish learning, teaching, and
contemplative spiritual practice. Fellows spend much of their time
learning and practicing sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry on
the four-acre ADAMAH farm and in small gardens throughout the retreat
center. Fellows also participate in leadership training, community living,
ecological and Jewish seminars with visiting faculty, and more.
Joshua Lichtman (see above)
Hazon works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community
and a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
We affect change in three ways: through the direct human impact of our
programs; by supporting the American Jewish environmental movement and the
Israeli environmental movement; through thought-leadership (writing,
speaking, teaching, campaigning).
The following values underpin our programs:
|A strong commitment to inclusive community;|
|A strong commitment to volunteer involvement and leadership
|Being Jewishly serious and deeply engaged with the world
|we believe in reaching people where they are and not where we might
like them to be.|
In the medium-term, our goal is to transform Jewish life over the next
six years, so that by September 2015 – at the end of the next shmita
(sabbatical) year in the Jewish tradition, - we are clearly and
demonstrably weaving commitments to sustainability into the fabric of
Jewish life in this country and around the world.
Hazon's Annual Food
"Where contemporary food conversations meet ancient
Jewish traditions." Hazon produces an annual meeting of farmers, culinary
experts, global citizens, business, community and Jewish leaders to focus
on contemporary food issues and exchange ideas on improving health and
sustainability in communities throughout the world. The 2009 conference
took place in December, with over 600 participants.
Cheryl Cook is the
Chief Operating Officer at Hazon. She joined Hazon in 2006 after being
actively involved as a participant since 2002. She has worked in the
Jewish community for 18 years, including JESNA, New Israel Fund, Makor,
Hillel and the 92nd Street Y. She originally hails from Detroit, and
credits the amazing influences of Camp Tavor, Hillel Day School, Bob
Aronson, Alan Yost and her family in giving her an early grounding in
Jewish life and passion for creating a vibrant Jewish community. Cheryl
earned a M.A. from Jewish Theological Seminary, a M.S. from Columbia
University, and a B.A. from University of Wisconsin. She lives in
Brooklyn, NY, with her husband Devin Cohen and her amazing son, Isaac.
ISAAC AGREE DOWNTOWN SYNAGOGUE ("IADS") (Detroit)
of passionate and dedicated young people have set out on a mission: to
fulfill the synagogue's long standing objective of providing an accessible
and open space of worship and celebration, while also rediscovering Jewish
life in the city of Detroit, re-shaping and re-energizing the face of
Judaism in the city, and reconnecting with the surrounding population by
paying attention to local needs through social action programming.
IADS offers Shabbat morning services,
followed by lunch, as well as holiday celebrations, observances, concerts,
talks, movies, and more.
Representatives: Jon Koller and Leor Barak
Jon Koller is a community organizer and developer in the
Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Since moving to the city in early 2009,
he has been active in the last remaining Jewish house of worship in
Detroit, the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. A product of the Lansing
suburbs and Habonim Dror summer camps, Jon attended the University of
Michigan where he studied civil engineering. His current projects focus on
the US Social Forum, the intersection of transportation and built space
and the reintegration of the metro Jewish community with the city of
Leor Barak is
the Board Secretary of IADS. He has over four years of legal, public
interest and community experience, most of which has involved communities
in the City of Detroit. After some experience working in the corporate
legal environment and in private practice, Leor litigated as a practicing
student attorney and served as a Board Member at the Free Legal Aid
Clinic, Inc., which provides legal services to low income individuals. In
addition, Leor has experience with the Civil Rights Division of the
Attorney General’s Office as well as the Wayne County Corporation Counsel.
Leor began as the Community Legal Resources Pro Bono Program Manager in
March of 2007. He received a BA in Political Science from the University
of Michigan in 2002 and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law
School in 2006. Leor is also currently working towards a Masters in
Business Administration from Kettering University.