The Mothers Circle Facilitators Conference

At The Jewish Outreach Institute's Annual Conference
Washington, DC - October 14 - 16, 2007

The Mothers Circle Facilitators Conference will bring together Mothers Circle facilitators and coordinators from across the country and will provide them with practical training and networking opportunities. The goal of the conference is to enable Mothers Circle facilitators and coordinators to realize their full potential and to become energized by JOI's vision for community transformation.

We hope you will be able to join us!

The 2007 Mothers Circle Facilitators Conference schedule:

NOTE: This schedule is tentative and will be updated as more content is added. Additional breaks will be scheduled.
Last updated: September 26, 2007.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Registration Table opens and Informal Welcome Reception begins at 1:30pm

The Mothers Circle Welcome Reception
For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!

Mincha Service (Afternoon Service)

Launch of “Big Tent Judaism” National Campaign

Words of Welcome from Terrence A. Elkes
Opening Remarks by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky
Participants in the Campaign by TBA
Inspirational Performance by Philadelphia's Congregation Temple Bethel Choir

Presentation to launch the “Big Tent Judaism” initiative—a coalition of inclusive Jewish institutions determined to grow the Jewish community—and to contextualize the conference by delineating how we must prepare for growth, both within our individual institutions and community-wide.

Drawing Strength From Our Mixed Multitude
Moderated by Rabbi Alvin Sugarman
Panelists: Mary-Ellen Macksoud, Beth Mazur, Cindy Petersiel, and
Suzette Cohen
Increased diversity requires increased sensitivity, and the Jewish community is more diverse than ever. Learn the sensitivities required in broadening our tent from a panel that includes women who were not born Jewish but have joined us through raising Jewish children (participants in JOI's "Mothers Circle" program).

5:15pm – 6:00pm
The Jewish Values of Outreach

Sponsored by the Ronne and Donald Hess Foundation

Facilitated by Rabbi Sam Gordon
Brief text-based conversation breaking into chevruta study small groups to examine how outreach has precedent in Jewish tradition, including Abraham’s tent and the commandment to "Welcome the Stranger."

6:00pm – 7:00pm

7:00pm – 7:30pm
Keynote: At Sinai Together...My Story - Your Story

by Adam Bronfman
Introduced by Irene Kaplan
One of the most important philanthropists in the Jewish community today and part of a new generation of leaders, Adam Bronfman will share his unique perspective on the challenges facing the organized Jewish community and his personal experiences on how outreach can make a difference.

Envisioning an Inclusive Jewish Community and Exploring What We Bring - A Brainstorming and Networking Opportunity
Sponsored by the Toleo Foundation - Tobee and Leonard Kaplan

Facilitated by Eva Stern
Join us for our first formal opportunity for participants to get to know each other and the unique skills and experiences we bring. This conversation will be launched by the keynote, and guide participants to move forward to explore the ideas that guide their work. Participants will explore their visions for a more inclusive Jewish community and what they need to make those visions a reality.

Can Culture Sustain Us? The Outreach Potential of Popular Entertainment
Sponsored by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

Guest Speaker
Rob Lotterstein
Join Rob Lotterstein, creator and executive producer of the Fox sitcom "The War at Home," as we screen one of his favorite episodes from this funny yet nuanced series about an intermarried family. The episode, called "13 Going on $30,000," has timely resonance for the Jewish community, as it follows the family's younger son, Mike, wanting a bar mitzvah even though he's had no prior Jewish education; Mike's lapsed-Catholic mother dealing with feelings of rejection as her son opts for a different faith; and the organized community's ability (or lack thereof) to welcome them.

After the screening, Rob Lotterstein will share the creative process behind the particular episode as well as the characters in general. He will also facilitate a discussion among conference attendees about what it means to have Jewish themes in mainstream entertainment. Can it reach and impact on the self-identity of Jews who are not otherwise connected to the Jewish community? For many Jews, Jewish culture is their only connection: is that enough to sustain Jewish identity from generation to generation? What does "Jewish culture" even mean in America today? And more.

Maariv Service (Evening Service)

Late Night Hospitality
Room TBA

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shacharit - Morning Services

Begin your day with a traditional, egalitarian service where the torah will be read. Alternatively, participate in an uplifting service of meditation and prayer to energize your day.

The Mothers Circle Networking Breakfast
For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!

The Role of The Mothers Circle in our Communities
Facilitated by Liz Stoll with a presentation
Suzette Cohen
For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!
This session gives facilitators and coordinators the tools they need to advocate for The Mothers Circle (and affiliates) in their communities, including how to build coalitions and refer mothers to community programs that are most relevant.

Judaism Can Happen Anywhere: Broadening Our Outreach Approach

Sponsored by The Karma Foundation

Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and Paul Golin
*Split session: Introductory and Advanced
JOI’s Public Space JudaismSM model expands the traditional definitions of “outreach.” Developed after years of outreach program evaluation, it focuses on methodologies for lowering barriers to participation. At this session you will learn how to plan and implement a successful Public Space Judaism event, which can be a valuable Mothers Circle recruitment tool. You may choose to attend the beginner or the advanced session, depending on your experience.

Special attention will be given to the application of the Public Space JudaismSM model in small communities.

FUNC: Follow-up through Name Collection Workshop

Sponsored by the Jean & Saul A. Mintz Foundation, Inc.

Facilitated by Eva Stern
Programs that attract the unaffiliated are only effective outreach vehicles if names of newcomers are collected and followed-up on a personal basis.

Networking Lunch: Slingshot’s Innovative Programs

Introduced by Jessica Warren of Grand Street
Tables hosted by operators of innovative programs listed in the Slingshot directory and participating in the conference's Innovative Program Fair. The Mothers Circle will have a table at this lunch. Feel free to sit at the Mothers Circle table and share your experiences with professionals who are considering bringing The Mothers Circle to their communities, or you can sit at another table and learn about a new program idea to bring back to your community.

2:30pm-3:30pm Recruiting the Moms
Facilitated by
Paul Golin
For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!
What works and what doesn’t work, when you seek participants for The Mothers Circle? Bring your experiences to the table; JOI will also bring recommendations.

Holiday Outreach Programming
Sponsored by the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation

Facilitated by Shellie Dickstein and Eva Stern
Passover, Hanukkah, and perhaps even Purim present excellent opportunities for finding and engaging unaffiliated families. Learn how the secular holiday calendar can also assist in your outreach efforts.

Mincha Service (Afternoon Service)

SLINGSHOT Innovative Program Fair

Also open to all Washington DC Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders
Visit booths and tables hosted by program operators from organizations included in "SLINGSHOT: A Resource Guide for Jewish Innovation" by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. Learn about the techniques they use to engage traditionally under-affiliated populations.
The Mothers Circle will be one of the programs featured at the fair.

Featured Slingshot Organizations:

  • American Jewish World Service
  • Avoda Arts
  • Birthright Israel
  • The Curriculum Initiative
  • Foundation for Jewish Camping
  • Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life
  • Jewish Coalition for Service
  • Jewish Mosaic
  • Keshet
  • Moving Traditions
  • 6:30pm-7:30pm

    D'var Torah by Rabbi Josh Aaronson

    Remarks from Monica Rodriguez, Empowering Ruth alumna

    Jewish DC

    From Capitol Hill to the Executive Offices, from the Smithonian Institution to the Kennedy Center, the Jewish community has played a major role in the development of Washington, DC. We invite you to join us on an evening illumination tour that reflects the vast and varied contributions the Jewish community has made to the well-being, artistic beauty, and moral values of our Nation's Capital. On this tour we will visit Washington's major sites and monuments while offering commentary about the Jewish influences in each locale.

    Maariv Service (Evening Service)

    Late Night Salon
    Facilitated by Gregg Drinkwater
    Room TBA
    Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews are sometimes overlooked in outreach programs. Yet anecdotal evidence points to surprisingly large numbers of LGBT Jews-by-choice, and interfaith relationships are much more common among LGBT individuals. How can we proactively prioritize LGBT inclusion in our communities?

    Late Night Hospitality
    Room TBA

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Shacharit - Morning Services

    Begin your day with a traditional, egalitarian service. Alternatively, participate in an uplifting service of meditation and prayer to energize your day.

    Controversies in the Circle - Breakfast Discussion
    Facilitated by Suzette Cohen
    For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!
    Anticipating solutions for difficult issues that face some interfaith families.

    Social Justice Programs as Outreach

    Sponsored by the Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation

    Ruth Messinger in dialogue with Simon Greer
    How and why does social justice appeal to traditionally under-affiliated Jewish populations such as young adults and children of intermarriage? How can social justice become a link to the Jewish community ?

    Growing The Mothers Circle

    Facilitated by Liz Stoll with presentations by Shoshana Zonderman and Rabbi Alvin Sugarman

    For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!
    How to reach fathers, grandparents, and kids.

    12:00pm – 1:00pm
    Taking it Back Home
    Sponsored by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

    Here is a chance to take all that you have learned of JOI’s signature models and programs and share it with you community in the form of JOI’s Conference in a Box, an innovative approach to local training.

    Closing remarks by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-chair

    The Mothers Circle Closing Lunch
    : How to build alumni groups
    Facilited by Liz Stoll with a presentation by Laura Kinyon

    For Mothers Circle Facilitators and Coordinators ONLY!

    *In general terms, "Introductory" and "Advanced" refer to your experience with JOI outreach methodology, not your tenure as a Jewish communal professional or lay leader. Prior to the conference, an individual conversation will help map out the program course that will be most valuable for you. It might include a combination of Introductory and Advanced sessions, depending on your prior experience with certain methodologies.

    Introductory - If this is your first JOI conference or training session, these sessions are recommended for you. This is also an opportunity to brush up on the key building blocks of outreach programs.

    Advanced - If you have already been thoroughly trained by JOI in certain areas, these sessions can help you move forward to master the next steps with regard to outreach in your community.