Conservative Judaism 2017: ‘God Is Without Boundaries’

The Hebrew word for holiness, kadosh, means “separate” or “boundary.” The essence of Judaism is boundaries between Jew and gentile, between the Sabbath and the other days of the week, between man and women, human and animal, adults and children, etc.

From the Temple Beth Am Shuvuot program: “God is without boundaries. Torah, too, can be accessed through limitless windows. As we accept Torah, on Shuvuot, we will do so with every soul. Every perspective. Every faith.”

“Please bring diapers and school supplies (backpacks, notebooks, pens and pencils) to TBA, to be made available to refugees, immigrants…”

Interfaith Panel 8:45-10:15 p.m.: “How God’s Voice Sings Through Your Tradition” (Ballroom)

Andrea Hodos is the Director of Moving Torah, and the Program Co-Director of NewGround: a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. She is a strong believer in the power of both ancient and personal stories to help us understand ourselves and one another better, and brings her beliefs and passions together in a performance project called Sinai & Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering & Recovering.

Atilla Kahveci is currently the Vice President of Pacifica Institute, that is dedicated to interfaith dialog, and improving social cohesion among different segments of the society. Pacifica Institute has been organizing interfaith conversations, lectures series, luncheon forums and panels of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Combatting Cancer of Extremism. Mr Kahveci is sitting on the board of various Interfaith Organizations like Christian Muslim Consultative Group, Interreligious Council of Southern California and Southern California Muslim Jewish Forum. In the summer of 2016, Mayor Eric Garcetti awarded along at City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission Interfaith Dinner Pacifica Institute’s efforts to organize panels of Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Combatting Cancer of Extremism.

Reverend Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard is program manager for the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement. The Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard combines her experience as a pastor and expertise as a community leader to run programs that train pastors to take on civic engagement work. Rev Najuma is the founding Pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church, in Los Angeles.Smith-Pollard also is a inspirational speaker and trainer, author, radio personality and community activist. Her areas of expertise Preaching, Women Clergy, Sexual Violence, Faith Leadership, Black Church and Civic Engagement.

Randolph Dobbs was born in Oakland, California, and raised in Salinas near Monterey where he attended Hartnell College. Mr. Dobbs is a member of the Regional Bahá’í Council of the State of California. He was elected to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Los Angeles in the mid-90’s and serves as its secretary. He is a past president of the Inter-Religious Council of Southern California and serves on its Executive Committee as well as the Advisory Board of the Guibord Center – Religion Inside Out. He also serves as a Religious Director in the Office of Religious Life at USC, as a member of the Board of Directors of the University Religious Conference at UCLA and is part of the Interfaith Collective in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Los Angeles. His articles on religious matters appear on various websites including, and

Marium F. Mohiuddin From the local mosque to national organizations, Marium F. Mohiuddin has dedicated her life to working toward helping and advocating for the American Muslim community. Professionally, she has worked in communications and publishing for the past 15 years. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, she joined the staff of the Austin American-Statesman as an editor in the Features department. In 2013, Marium launched her communications firm merging her two passions – nonprofit work and communications – and in 2016, she took that passion one step further when she went back to school to get her MBA in nonprofit management.

At 10:30 pm: “Nazis in Montana: Lessons from a Jewish community under attack. A group of rabbis from across North America traveled to a small rural town in Montana this spring. They came with the intention of comforting the Jewish community and left with a deeper understanding of the beauty of tight-knit communities, the strength of the leadership, and the distressing power in the hands of virulent anti-semites. Cantor Chorny will share Torah, stories, and opportunities that have arisen in the wake of the troubling events.”

Also at 10:30 pm: “Creating Transgender Inclusive Jewish Spaces Dr. Patrick Rock, Director of Education at the Youth and Gender Media Project (Chermisqui Hall) This interactive workshop will discuss the ways in which Jewish spaces can be both inclusive, and alienating, to transgender individuals. We will discuss best practices around transgender inclusion and concrete ways for you to make your own community more affirming.”

At 11:30 pm: “A Jewish Response to the Refugee Crisis: Mark Hetfield President & CEO, HIAS (Hersch Hall) Join Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, for a Tikkun L’eyl Shavuot session about the global refugee crisis. Participants will explore how Jewish text, values and history call on us to respond – both here in the U.S., and internationally”

* “The Others: Igael Gurin Malous Talmud Teacher at Temple Israel of Hollywood (Chermisqui Hall) How the invisible, the ugly, the marginalized and the weak become strong, beautiful, sexy, important and respected. A journey of self exploration through the Talmudic texts or how this boy became a man…”

* “The Space Between: Reverend Kirsten Linford Senior Minister at Westwood Hills Congregational Church (Kopelove Hall) Often, God is found most presently and most powerfully in the spaces between – between human beings, between us and God, between the sound and the silence, between the lines, and even between spiritual traditions. For me, the connection to Jesus is one of inbetween and has been greatly informed and deepened by Jewish voices and experiences. I would love to share my stories with you, to hear your own, and to offer up the labyrinth as a way of in-between prayer that is meaningful to my community.”

* “Building a Stronger and More Inclusive LGBTQA Community One Unique Voice at a Time (Panel Discussion) Rabbi Rachel Bat-Or Director, JQ International Helpline Services and Members of the JQ Int’l Speakers Bureau (Dorff Nelson Chapel) The LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Ally) community often speaks with one voice about the ever-present danger to all of us. But we each have a unique voice, which adds increased nuance and texture to the whole community. Those of us on the panel will share our process of finding our own voices and how each one blends into and, at the same time, changes the community as a whole.”

12:30 am. “What does the Torah teach us about today’s refugee crisis? How do we respond? Tyson Roberts Temple Beth Am Refugee Task Force (Pilch Hall) Text study and discussion, update on what Jewish communities have done thus far, and brainstorm what we can do in the near future. Step one: Please bring diapers and school supplies for refugees and displaced families in the LA area! (Note: Notebooks and pens/pencils should be brought before 5pm; backpacks and diapers can be brought any time.)”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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