10th Beutel Seminar

 

“I have just returned from the 10th Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership.  This is a ten-day program at the headquarters of the World Union for Progressive Judaism collocated with the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, run by the Anita Saltz International Education Center.

 

  

The location is fabulous! The ‘Beuteliks’ class room overlooks the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Beutel is a place for all Jews looking for the religious, Zionist, cultural or musical meaning of being a Jew in our society today.  The Beutel Seminar program addresses the study of ancient and contemporary history, current political, leadership, plus social issues affecting progressive communities in Israel and the Diaspora.  In a progressive Jewish context, it covers many of the complex, endemic and recurrent aspects of being a Jew and many aspects of the life cycle of Jewish communities.  

Discussions were inspired by a spiritual search, morning tefilot and amazing Shabbats. These took place with WUPJ, WZO, IRAC, IJPM leaders in a natural, conversational and creative manner, as well as with individuals implementing social actions with handicapped children, refugees, multi-cultural education and environmental issues. The final days in the desert at Kibbutz Yahel crowned a week where new friends and new community links were made in the four corners of the world. 

I treasured the tefilot moments, the leadership classes and the Women of the Wall question http://www.womenofthewall.org.il/. Tefilot were followed every morning cheerfully along with guitar chords and moving lyrics.  Reuven Marko masterfully explained the need for a vision, that leaders have to have the marathon mentality and not that of sprinters, that projects have to take into account GFR, i.e., growth, financing and reorganization, and that fear, in decision-making, is not a good counsel. 

Finally, the transforming idea that we all together can direct our path and Tikum Olam actions towards creating a Kehila Kedusha was very powerful. My lesson learned is that a holy community is the actual instrument to implement G-d inspired Jewish values in the world. In this way, one can illuminate the journey of continuous revelation through daily manifestations.  The Beutel Seminar shows that Jews - through their ancient moral values - can be a transformative element in human society and an inspiring force for future generations.” 

Andres Mosquera - IJC member