On behalf of the program committee and CCAR leaders and staff, we welcome you to Chicago and CCAR’s 125th Annual Convention!

Chicago is the birthplace of the “Great Books of the Western World” project that sought to promote the learning of great ideas as part of being an educated person.  Chicago is also known as “the city that works.”  And we hope that this Convention will be a Convention that “works” for you. The program of this 125th Annual Convention of the CCAR will bring together those two grand ideas─engaging our intellects by grappling with the big ideas and challenging questions of life, while paying attention to improving our skills for our day to day work as rabbis─with the assumption that they inform one another.

Throughout these days that we will share, we challenge you to engage with some of the Great Issues, Great Questions, Great Ideas that will be raised by our stellar presenters, by our colleagues, and by you.  Too often, we are inundated with the urgent, leaving us no time to pay attention to the important.  At this Convention we hope that you will take the time to step back and reflect on great ideas while you learn with great teachers.

Making/Finding Meaning, Autonomy and Obligation, Good and Evil are the daily themes that will set the tone for our conversations.  In major programs we will engage with Israel, honor our teacher David Ellenson, and explore the role and influence of religion and religious ideas in American society, laugh with the Second City Players, and more.

Come and visit our unique “Soapbox Arena” located in the midst of the exhibit area in the International Ballroom.  Sit down for a cup of coffee with friends.  Continue a conversation that started in a workshop.  Meet a CCAR Board member.  Hear the concerns about which our colleagues are passionate.  Plan to stand on the soapbox and share your passion─then find like-minded souls for continued conversation or debate.

Thank you for coming.  We hope that this Convention will provide you with rich opportunities to learn, discuss, and grow.


Michael Weinberg
Convention Program Committee Chair
Brigitte Rosenberg
Convention Program Committee, Vice-Chair