Back in February, a panel of Mothers Circle alumnae from Atlanta provided folks in the area with the opportunity of learning about their experiences, backgrounds and decisions regarding the religious lives of their families at an in-person event, in The Atlanta Jewish Times and on the radio.
The success and profundity of the panel led the Jewish Outreach Institute to organize a similar panel at our conference, Opening the Tent: Visions and Practices for a More Inclusive Jewish Community, which took place a few weeks ago in Washington, DC. The panel featured three Mothers Circle alumnae and Suzette Cohen, the Georgia Coordinator of the Mothers Circle and was moderated by Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, the Georgia Mothers Circle Rabbi.
The women on the panel eloquently shared their experiences in the Jewish community as well as the support (or lack thereof) they have received in the Jewish community. They spoke about their spouses’ religious roles and their own spiritual choices. Conference attendees were blown away by the openness of the women and their willingness to share their journeys. We at JOI thank them for their important role at our conference.
As a result of the promotion of The Mothers Circle at the JOI conference, from this panel and from the buzz generated by a special Mothers Circle facilitator’s track of the conference, we hope to expand the Mothers Circle to many new communities over the next year.
The Mothers Circle panel expanded the perspectives of conference attendees. The Jewish community must continue to look inward as well as reach out, in order to best welcome all who wish to cast their lot with the Jewish community. And the leaders of the Jewish community must ask themselves how those families’ and individuals’ experiences have been, and how the Jewish community can improve upon them.