World's Reform Rabbis, Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Convene in New Orleans March 27-30

New Orleans -- Rebuilding and Remaking Itself -- Serving as Lab for Visioning and Casting New Future for Reform Judaism, as Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) at 122nd Annual Convention

NEW ORLEANS, LA--(Marketwire - March 27, 2011) - The world's Reform rabbis are convening in New Orleans Sunday, March 27, through Wednesday, March 30, 2011, for the 122nd Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). CCAR is the professional organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy.

Approximately 500 Reform rabbis are gathering to look to the future of Jewish life in North America, to enhance ways in which they are positioned to lead their communities and to transform the challenges of changing demographics, interests of younger Reform Jews and spiritual matters into opportunities to build new communities.

"New Orleans is rich in tradition and, at the same time, a case study in urban innovation. In this setting, our rabbis will meet with innovators, teachers, leaders and thinkers to explore new models of community, leadership, partnerships and creative collaborations," said CCAR Chief Executive Rabbi Steven A. Fox. "New Orleans is also an excellent backdrop to explore our role as custodians of the earth. Accordingly, sustainability will be a key topic of examination as well."

"During the week, we will look carefully at the future of Jewish life, beginning with a conversation about innovative leadership with Dr. Scott Cowen, presented at Tulane University; explore new structures of community with author Peter Block; and assess material gathered during a two-and-a-half year inquiry process during which more than 800 rabbis shared their hopes, dreams and fears about the next 30 years in communal life. Building upon these conversations, we will move toward the creation of a clear and meaningful vision statement for Reform Judaism," said Rabbi Fox.

The Convention is open to media who provide advance notification. In addition CCAR leaders are available in advance and on the scene for conversations. Contact Itay Engelman at or 212-255-8386.


  • New Orleans as a Laboratory: Confronting Difficult Challenges with Imagination and Creativity. Talk by transformational leader Dr. Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University.
  • Recent events in the Middle East with Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer. The former ambassador to Israel and to Egypt, now at Princeton University, will provide high level briefing addressing ongoing events in the Middle East.
  • New Interfaith Dialogue: Seeing the Face of God in the Other. Clergy from a range of denominations from Greater New Orleans will engage for an afternoon of dialogue with Reform rabbis on different issues.
  • Sustainability and Custodianship of the Earth. The founder of the Earth Policy Institute on "World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse"; book launch on subject of ethical eating; environmental justice tour of New Orleans area.
  • "The Sacred Table: Creating a Jewish Food Ethic." A new CCAR book on ethical eating will be debuted.
  • A New Vision for Reform Judaism: Amplifying the Rabbinic Voice. Facilitated conversations among rabbis to find a new way forward and a vision for Reform Judaism in the 21st century.
  • Engaging with Israel: Challenges and Opportunities for American Jews. A panel discussion among experts.


  • Grieving Beyond Gender: Understanding the Ways Men and Women Mourn.
  • Issues of Social Justice in Modern Responsa.
  • Prophet and "Prophecy" in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Similarities, Differences and Contemporary Impact.
  • Jewish Genetic Testing and the Rabbi's Responsibility in Pre-Marital Counseling.
  • Crisis Management: Preaching and Caring for a Community in Need of Repair. '
  • There's an App for That: Technology and Pastoral Work.


  • Dr. Scott Cowen, President, Tulane University.
  • Peter Block, author of "Community: The Structure of Belonging." (Empowerment and training expert.)
  • Lester Brown, environmental movement leader and founder of the Earth Policy Institute.
  • Peter Beinart, journalist and author of "The Good Fight: Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again."
  • Richard Axelrod and Emily Axelrod, authors of "Terms of Engagement" and change consultants.

Note to Journalists: To attend the CCAR Convention, obtain schedule of events or to arrange a conversation with the leaders of the CCAR, please contact Itay Engelman at Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or

About the CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at

Contact Information:

Itay Engelman
Sommerfield Communications