Rabbi Rose selected for CLAL fellowship


B’nai Amoona’s Rabbi Carnie Rose was chosen for the Center for Learning and Leadership’s (CLAL) new initiative, Rabbis Without Borders.

Rabbi Rose was chosen from more than 80 applicants to fill one of 20 slots in the competitive rabbinic fellowship program.


Rabbis Without Borders (RWB) is designed to help rabbis make Jewish wisdom available to the wider American public by creating a network of interdenominational religious leaders from across North America.

Rose said he feels privileged to take part in such an opportunity; one that includes “a wonderfully select group of people” – a group that spans the denominational and age spectrum, as well as a mix of congregational and non-congregational rabbis.

“It’s an opportunity to be with inspired, creative, and innovative rabbis under the direction of a fantastic organization,” said Rose. “From this we can engage our own people, but also connect to those who have something to gain from interaction with our community, and therefore will be enriched in the interplay.”

Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu, RWB Director, said the interest in the program this year was very heartening. “Clearly rabbis recognize the need to apply their skills in new ways to reach a wider audience, and make the teachings and tools from Jewish wisdom more accessible,” she said. “This unique program offers that kind of support, helping rabbis to better communicate in both familiar and new venues, and to make Jewish thought and practice a real resource for the American public.”

The Rabbinic Fellows plan to gather six times in New York City over the course of one year. Fellows study with leading thinkers, authors, and influential people from a variety of fields. These experts work with them to help spot the trends and identify the ways in which Americans make meaning in their lives.

Rose’s interest lies in thinking about how to engage members of the Jewish community in new, interesting, and innovative ways.

“Obviously anyone who is a student in religion in American today, even a casual student, realizes that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift,” said Rose. “What’s happening in America at large is impacting the Jewish community as well. The time has come to think through what that means in terms of the borders that normally exist, the boundaries that we’ve set up in order to engage ourselves as Jews and to engage people who are psycho-Semitic souls — this notion of people who may have something to learn from this ancient and wonderful wisdom tradition,” he said.

Rose said boundaries — he defines them as limitations that developed in past generations — have included those between Jews and universities, Jews and certain occupations or boundaries between certain social environments.

In turn, Jews have created boundaries for themselves, such as issues around intermarriage. He accepts that this makes sense in a particular environment, like a post-Holocaust reality when Jews are trying to reestablish and energize themselves. However, Rose does not believe the next generation of young Jews are as motivated by that kind of mission. “I don’t think that’s what inspires people to stay connected to Judaism,” he said. “What will motivate people, especially our Generation X, Y, and Millennials, will be a passionate, vital, effervescent Judaism, not one which emerges out of fear or guilt.”

Rose also wants to make Jews much more available to the American landscape so they can participate in this unique tradition, which he thinks has something to say.

At the fellowship’s first session, the rabbis discussed just how to go about this. With the help of demographer and sociologist, Barry Kosmin, the group talked about the recent trends and research.

The group’s discussions sought to find answers by creating techniques for change and planning marketing campaigns. However, Rose believes something more important needs to come first. “We must recalibrate our own souls, hearts, and our own minds,” Rose said. “You can’t make change or be an agent for change, unless you yourself first wrap your head around the challenges and the opportunities.”

With one meeting under their belt, Rose is pleased at what is developing. “There is a sharing of real-time scenarios of how to deal with borders and boundaries as people bump up against them. That’s very exciting. We are addressing each other’s concerns and what’s really happening in our lives as facilitators of spirituality,” he said. “That’s helping us begin to think through what the second decade of the 21st century is going to look like.”