Hectic Times, in the Very Best Way



Despite the fact that summer, with its hopefully slower pace, is just around the corner, the last few weeks have been packed!

At the end of April, I joined 117 congregational presidents who had gathered in Atlanta for the annual Scheidt Seminar, the URJ’s unique leadership training initiative specifically designed for current and incoming presidents. During the gathering, we honored with an aliyah those participants whose parents or grandparents also had served as presidents. In a moving tribute to these former leaders, 25% of the participants stepped forward, not only to recite the Torah blessings, but also to carry on their families’ tradition of leadership l’dor v’dor.

From Atlanta, I headed to Jerusalem together with 33 other North American delegates to attend the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s Connections conference. During the five-day gathering, 200 leaders from around the world participated in workshops, worship and discussions, all of which focused on our commitment to building and sustaining vibrant, Progressive Jewish communities throughout the world.

Upon my return to the States, I immediately headed to the URJ’s Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY, where spring, allergies, and terrific plans for this summer’s teen program all were in full bloom. Space is limited, so, if they have not already done so, please make sure your congregation’s teen leaders register soon.

Last week my own congregation, Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, NJ, celebrated its 165th anniversary, and early the next morning, I headed to Greenville, SC, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Temple of Israel. Between these milestone anniversaries and the inspirational Confirmation services and Shavuot study sessions that were held in our communities in the last couple of weeks, the strength and vibrancy of the Jewish community these devoted Confirmands are poised to inherit are what keep me going during these hectic times.

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Rabbi Daniel Freelander

About Rabbi Daniel Freelander

Rabbi Daniel Freelander serves as senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. A gifted musician and keen observer of the North American Jewish scene, he has been on the staff of the Union since 1975, supervising virtually every aspect of the Union’s programs and operations. He has served as a regional youth advisor and director of NFTY, regional director of the Union’s New Jersey–West Hudson Valley Council and executive editor of Reform Judaism magazine. He supervises URJ administrative and financial operations, as well as the Movement’s camping and Israel travel programs and URJ Books and Music. Read his full bio.

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