HUC-JIR Alumni Selected to Join the Inaugural Cohort of the Jewish Emergent Network's Rabbinic Fellowship

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Rabbi Sydney Henning (left) and Rabbi Suzy Stone

Rabbi Sydney Henning (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles '13) and Rabbi Suzy Stone (HUC-JIR/Los Angeles '12) were selected by The Jewish Emergent Network—a collaboration between seven path-breaking Jewish communities from across the United States—to join the cohort of dynamic and talented rabbinical fellows for its inaugural collective project, the Rabbinic Fellowship.

This Fellowship will place select early career rabbis into each of the seven participating Network communities for a two-year period, in order to train the next generation of enterprising rabbis to take on the challenges and realities of 21st century Jewish life in America in a variety of settings. The seven communities in the Network are all devoted to revitalizing the field of Jewish engagement. While each community is different in form and organizational structure, all have taken an entrepreneurial approach to this shared vision, operating outside of traditional institutional models, and rethinking basic assumptions about US Jewish communities with regard to prayer, membership models, staff structures, the religious/cultural divide, and physical space.

The first cohort of Network fellows includes: Rabbi Nate DeGroot at IKAR in Los Angeles, Rabbi Sydney Henning at Kavana in Seattle, Rabbi Jonathan Bubis at The Kitchen in San Francisco, Rabbi Lauren Henderson at Mishkan in Chicago, Rabbi Suzy Stone at Sixth & I in Washington, DC, Rabbi Kerry Chaplin at Lab/Shul in New York City, and Rabbi Joshua Buchin at Romemu, also in New York City.

The rabbis will be embedded in their new communities beginning in July. Each fellow will take on a variety of independent rabbinic tasks, and will receive weekly supervision and support from leaders within the host organization. Throughout the two-year program, fellows will meet seven times as a fully assembled cohort, traveling to each of the seven Network communities for intensive conferences at which they will learn from Network and non-Network rabbis, teachers and other experts from around the country. The first conference will take place at Romemu in Manhattan this August. The final site visit, planned for June 2018 at IKAR in Los Angeles, will also include a public-facing conference that welcomes clergy, staff, and lay leaders from across the country to engage with the fellows and share best practices of innovation and creativity with regard to Jewish community building. Towards the end of the first cohort, a second cohort of rabbinic fellows will be selected and placed.

The goal of the Fellowship is to create the next generation of entrepreneurial, risk-taking change-makers, whose skills will equally prepare them to initiate independent communities, and be valuable and valued inside of existing Jewish institutions and synagogues. Each fellow will be steeped in the spirit and best practices of the Network organizations and poised to educate, engage, and serve an array of target populations, especially young adults and families with young children.

The seven rabbinic fellows bring diverse backgrounds, interests and experience to the Network. The cohort will be comprised of four women and three men; two graduates of Hebrew Union College, one graduate of The Jewish Theological Seminary, one graduate of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, and three graduates of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University. The Network also hired non-profit strategist Jessica Emerson McCormick as its Program Manager.

Seed funding for the first four years of this program has been generously provided through a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Crown Family and the Charles H. Revson Foundation. Network members are continuing to secure additional program funding over the next four years.

About the Fellows:

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rabbi Sydney Henning attended New York University and the University of New Mexico, graduating with honors and a degree in Political Science and Journalism. Immediately after graduating, she spent three months in Israel studying at a Hebrew ulpan in Haifa and enjoying her first experience in the Jewish homeland. After returning to the United States, she became professionally involved in national politics and, shortly thereafter, became a labor union organizer for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). In 2006, she decided that she would like to continue community organizing, but within a Jewish context. She moved to New York in February of that year to become the Director of National Initiatives for Birthright Israel NEXT, where she worked with unaffiliated young adults who were looking to deepen their connection to their Jewish roots. The experience she had with these young adults through Birthright Israel eventually inspired her to apply to rabbinical school at HUC-JIR. During her time at HUC-JIR, Sydney interned at variety of synagogues and Jewish organizations across the United States, from Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York, to Congregation Albert in New Mexico and Hillel at UCLA in California. As a student, Sydney was the recipient of the coveted Schusterman Rabbinical Fellowship. Ordained in May of 2013, Sydney joined Isaac M. Wise, where she has served as the Assistant Rabbi for the past three years. Sydney currently lives in Cincinnati with her very-soon-to-be-husband, Benjamin Danziger, and her golden retriever. She is joining the Jewish Emergent Network as a Rabbinic Fellow at Kavana.

Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Rabbi Suzy Stone graduated from Brandeis University with a B.A. in History in 2002. After graduating, she worked as a community organizer, teacher and coach in Boston and Phoenix. Inspired by her experience in the Boston Jewish community, she decided to pursue rabbinical school as a way to combine her passion for Tikkun Olam (healing the world) and Tikkun HaNefesh (healing oneself). She was ordained at HUC-JIR in Los Angeles in 2012 and is a proud alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. As a newly ordained rabbi, Rabbi Stone began her career at Congregation B’nai B’rith in Santa Barbara, CA. She has served their Associate Rabbi for the last four years, during which time she focused on establishing strong adult education classes, new social justice initiatives, and teen engagement. In her free time she loves playing softball, cycling, and exploring new music and restaurants. She is joining the Jewish Emergent Network as a Rabbinic Fellow at Sixth & I.

Rabbi Joshua Buchin is a fifth-year rabbinical student at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, from which he will be ordained this May. He currently works as a Rabbinic Intern and Spiritual Counselor at Beit T'Shuvah, a Jewish residential treatment center in Culver City. For the last three years he has also served as the Rabbinic Intern at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, CA. As an educator, he has worked with a wide range of children and adults in diverse settings, helping people find meaning in the Jewish tradition and connection with one another. He has been involved with the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Yeshivat Hadar in New York, Wilderness Torah, Bend The Arc, Rabbis Without Borders, and AJWS. He is also the author of a children's book, Tefilat HaDerech: The Traveler's Prayer (EKS Publishing, 2012). He is joining the Jewish Emergent Network as a Rabbinic Fellow at Romemu.

Rabbi Jonathan Bubis is the assistant rabbi of Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills, California. A graduate of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, he is a Jewish educator and performing artist with a passion for music, theater, and Jewish text. Additionally, Rabbi Bubis has a penchant for Jewish prayer and leading communities in participatory, spiritually uplifting prayer services. He spent three summers heading up the drama department at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin—and seven summers total on drama staff—where he directed Broadway musicals in Hebrew and created original pieces of Jewish theater. Rabbi Bubis also works as a Storahtelling Maven, a revived form of the ancient translator/interpreter of Jewish biblical text, making ancient stories and traditions accessible for new generations in the synagogue and in the classroom, advancing Judaic literacy and raising social consciousness. He, along with his wife Becca, are thrilled at the opportunity to join the Jewish Emergent Network. He will be a Rabbinic Fellow at The Kitchen.

Ordained in 2015 by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Rabbi Kerry Chaplin has been serving college students and other university constituents for the past three years: first as the Rabbinic Intern at Hillel at UCLA and then as the Director of Jewish Life and Assistant Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Vassar College. Relationship is at the core of Kerry's rabbinate and her inspiration to work towards justice and peace. Kerry's own relationship with Judaism and Jewishness is anchored in tradition and evolving towards intersectional spirituality, in which our greatest socio-political challenges inform our religious identities and practices, and help us to become more of who we are in the world. Through projects like Two Faiths One Prayer and Talmud + Yoga, Kerry encourages others to bring all of who they are to Torah and Torah to all the pieces of who they are. She received both a B.A. in Religious Studies and an M.A. in Non-Profit Management from Washington University in St. Louis. A former rugby player, Kerry misses her nationally ranked #4 Santa Monica Women's Rugby team. She lives with her wife Julia, their cats Izzy and Louie, and their dog Charlie (Chaplin). She is joining the Jewish Emergent Network as a Rabbinic Fellow at Lab/Shul.

A sixth- and final-year rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Boston and an east coast native, Rabbi Nate DeGroot brings a love of community, a curiosity of form, a devotion to justice-healing work, a propensity for celebration, and a passion for connecting with the sacred to all that he does. With a B.A. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University, Nate has extensive experience in community building, experiential education, entrepreneurship, and organizational consulting to bolster his formal rabbinic learning. Currently serving as IKAR's Rabbinic Intern, Nate will further bring his passions and gifts to the IKAR community as their Rabbinic Fellow via the Jewish Emergent Network.

Rabbi Lauren Henderson is finishing up rabbinical school at The Jewish Theological Seminary with a Master’s in Midrash and a Certificate in Pastoral Care. Lauren grew up in a small but mighty Jewish community in Spartanburg, South Carolina as part of an interfaith family and went from there to Rice University in Houston, where she graduated cum laude in Religious Studies and History and was very involved with Houston Hillel. After a year at Pardes in Jerusalem, Lauren began her rabbinic studies at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles and then moved to New York to continue studying at JTS. She's taught Torah and led prayer in a wide variety of settings such as IKAR, the Pelham Jewish Center, and Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in Cleveland, and also served as a chaplain with DOROT and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. Last summer, Lauren worked with fifth and sixth graders at Camp Ramah in the Rockies as their Rosh Edah (unit head) and is proud to report that she survived a three-day backpacking trip with a group of eleven year olds. When she's not doing Jew-y things, Lauren loves running, baking, and having spontaneous dance parties. She is joining the Jewish Emergent Network as a Rabbinic Fellow at Mishkan and can't wait to rock out to all the davening tunes.

About the Jewish Emergent Network: 

The Jewish Emergent Network is comprised of the leaders of seven path‐breaking Jewish communities from across the United States that have come together in the spirit of collaboration. These include: IKAR in Los Angeles, Kavana in Seattle, The Kitchen in San Francisco, Mishkan in Chicago, Sixth & I in Washington, D.C., and Lab/Shul and Romemu in New York.

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.