Introducing Machon Kaplan 2011



MK image.jpg“Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down, and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand, and let them serve as a symbol on your forehead; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deut.6:4-9).

With these words, Moses addresses the Israelite people for one of the
last times, just before their triumphant entry into the Land of Canaan.
Tradition dictates that we recite these words as part of the Sh’ma
three times a day, understanding the imperative of impressing the word
of God to–and, as such, continuing the tradition of our ancestors
with–our children and the generations to come

Within the Reform Movement specifically, we pride ourselves on our longstanding Jewish tradition of social justice and advocacy on behalf of those less fortunate and emphasize that history within those traditions we pass down. The Machon Kaplan program is a fantastic example of the weight that Reform Judaism places on social justice, and our hope to ultimately intertwine the teaching of our next generation with their subsequent action both within and outside of the Jewish community.

During the summer, Machon Kaplan students intern at various RAC partner organizations all over the DC area and all over the spectrum of issues advocated for by the RAC. This allows the students to gain an excellent understanding of advocacy work on a number of levels and its connection to the legislative process. Throughout the summer, the students will post on this blog about their experiences. In addition, we have two weekly classes taught by Rabbi Saperstein and a number of other experts in the field to help frame the work that they do in a Jewish context, and continue to impress upon them the irreducible significance to which Judaism holds social justice and communal advocacy work.

As the Machon Kaplan Program coordinator, I have the pleasure of helping to guide these students along the way throughout their time here and their experience in DC. Do contact me if you have any questions about the program, and I will be happy to get back to you.

Ariel Naveh is a third-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s Cincinnati campus.

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