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Live Webcast of Today's Ann Arbor Symposium ... with Women We Love!

In case you thought New York was the ‘be all, end all' of Jewish life, think again. Step aside, Upper West Side, because Ann Arbor, Michigan is where the action's at today.

Some of the leading thinkers, innovators, and activists in the American Jewish community have gathered together at the University of Michigan for a symposium entitled: "If Not Now: Challenge, Choice, and Change in 21st-Century Jewish Community" to kick-off the University's new Jewish Communal Leadership Program directed by Karla Goldman who was installed just yesterday as Sol Drachler Chair in Jewish Communal Service. Karla is near and dear to many of us at the Jewish Women's Archive having served as JWA's historian in residence for eight years. After creating JWA's This Week in History and many other resources housed at, Karla is now pioneering an effort of her own: developing leaders to address social challenges from within Jewish contexts and to understand Jewish community not in isolation, but as deeply engaged with the world. As a start, Karla's pulled together an impressive group of people -- including two of my favorite Jewesses, Ruth Messinger of AJWS and Idit Klein of Keshet, as well as leaders in the Greater-Detroit area -- to advance conversations about issues that are on the minds (and blogs!) of many of us: the place of activism in Jewish communal work; the challenges posed by current anxieties around intermarriage, continuity, gender, and Israel; the role and definition of Jewish voices in pluralistic environments, and more.

Fortunately, for those of us who aren't in Ann Arbor right now, we can tune in to these conversations online; the entire symposium is being aired as a live webcast beginning at 9am. I'll be tuning in, and you should, too! Check out the full schedule of events, and the line-up of discussions:

9:00 - 10:30am  Panel Discussion #1

Seekers of Justice: Jewish Voices and Activism within a Pluralistic Society

Chair:  Deborah Dash Moore, director, Frankel Center for Judaic Studies

Ruth Messinger, president, American Jewish World Service

Shifra Bronznick, change management consultant for nonprofits

Idit Klein, executive director, Keshet

Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati

10:45am - 12:15pm Panel Discussion #2

Attachment and Alienation: American Jews and Israel in Complex Times

Chair:  Karla Goldman, Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work, University of Michigan

Kari Alterman, director, Detroit chapter, American Jewish Committee

Adrienne Dessel, co-associate director, Program on Intergroup Relations, University of Michigan

Michael Brooks, executive director, University of Michigan Hillel

Laurie White, producer/director, Refusing to be Enemies -The Zeitouna Story 


1:00 - 2:30pm Panel Discussion #3

A Community in Crisis? Reflections on Gender, Generations, Diversity, and the Jewish Future

Chair: John Tropman, associate dean of faculty, University of Michigan School of Social Work

Harlene Appelman, executive director, Covenant  Foundation

Debra Barton Grant, executive  vice-president, Jewish Federation of St. Joseph Valley

Clare Kinberg, Founding and General Editor, Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal

David Schoem, Director, Michigan Community Scholars Program, University of Michigan


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Just wanted to mention that I was able to live-blog the third panel discussion ("A Community in Crisis?"). If anyone's interested, it's over at And as usual, JWA rocks!

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How to cite this page

Namerow, Jordan. "Live Webcast of Today's Ann Arbor Symposium ... with Women We Love!." 2 April 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on January 20, 2018) <>.


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