Native Tucsonan, a rabbi without borders, to speak at Connections brunch

Rabbi Jennifer Krause

Jewish identity has been rooted in belonging to a synagogue — but that’s changing. What hasn’t changed is a Jewish woman’s unwavering commitment to improving the world, says Rabbi Jennifer Krause, this year’s Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy Connections speaker. Krause will present “Giant Leaps for Humankind: Generations of Jewish Women Changing the World” at the brunch, which will be held on Sunday, March 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Krause, 38, the author of “The Answer: Making Sense of Life, One Question at a Time,” is working on her second book. Her articles have appeared in Jewish Woman Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and O, The Oprah Magazine.

“I primarily describe myself as a teacher and author,” says Krause, “integrating the path I’ve chosen as a rabbi with the Jewish landscape that has changed dramatically and is in the process of dramatic change.”

In this early part of the 21st century, “participation of the younger generation has so many points of connection [from ways of] expressing one’s Jewishness, learning about one’s Jewishness, to acting on one’s Jewishness in the world. We’re expanding the definition of what it means to be Jewish,” explains Krause.

Young Jewish people are heeding “a clarion call to social justice, combining it with the freedom of America to reach a completely different level,” she notes. “They’re trying to eliminate genocide in Darfur, dedicating themselves to what it means to say ‘Never Again,’ and [founding] organizations dedicated to ending poverty,” such as Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps and Jewish Funds for Justice.

In addition to being inspired by this younger generation of Jewish activists, Krause, the daughter of community volunteer Betty Ann Sarver, and granddaughter of philanthropist Irene Sarver, cites “the great examples I have for the vision of what I do, being part of a family of strong and visionary Jewish women. The family of the Jewish community in Southern Arizona inspires me wherever I go.”

Tickets are $36, plus a $180 minimum pledge to the 2011 Federation Community Campaign ($18 for students). RSVP by Feb. 28 to Karen Graham at 577-9393, ext. 118 or kgraham@jfsa.org, or online at jewishtucson.org. The JFSA Young Women’s Cabinet mitzvah project requests donations to the Tucson Tragedy Victim Fund.