Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web
Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know!
- “Reform and Conservative Camping Movements’ will Engage Synagogue Youth Year Round,” eJewish Philanthropy
This week, the camping movements of the URJ and the Conservative Movement’s National Ramah Commission announced that they will come together to develop a year-round Service Corps program for camp staff alumni. This program will train and support up to 80 young adult educators who will serve in youth educator leadership roles within the movements.
- “Minyan in Mohave,” Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
Temple Beth Shalom in Lake Havasu City, AZ, is the only synagogue in all of Mohave County. Rabbi Elliott Rosenbloom, who started working at the temple in 2012, has been able to enhance Jewish life in the county by increasing the number of congregation members and leading services more regularly.
- “A Report From The Ropes Course,” The Jewish Week
Molly Mittman, a rising fouth grader born with cerebral palsy, recently achieved her summer goal when she successfully climbed to the top of a rock wall at camp. “I started screaming with excitement and pride,” Mittman says. “I never thought I would be able to get to the top.”
- “Benjamin Netanyahu Strongly Backs Kotel Plan in Meeting with American Jews,” The Forward
Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu met recently with URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs and Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, to discuss the redesign of the Western Wall. During this meeting Netanyahu made clear he stands behind the plan, which will allow for greater scope in non-Orthodox prayer services.
- “Free Memberships: Is it Good for the Dues?” New Jersey Jewish News
In order to attract new members, Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, NJ is taking an innovative approach. The synagogue waives dues for families with children enrolled in pre-school or day care, and new members who don’t meet these qualifications will still be able to set their own membership fee based on salary, so long as they contribute at least $600. “People are no longer willing to pay just because they get a letter telling them they have to,” says Rabbi Dan Judson, director of professional development and placement at Hebrew College in Boston, “so changing the dues structure is a matter of necessity.”
- “One, Two, Three: Increase Your Congregation’s Israel Engagement,” eJewish Philanthropy
After participating in an educators’ kallah in Israel in conjunction with URJ camp staff, Hope Chernack, a Manhattan-based syangogue educator, came home with innovative new ideas to increase congregational engagement around Israel. These ideas include using music to help teach the history and culture of Israel, encouraging educators to understand their own Jewish journey so they can help others unpack theirs, and connecting with Israelis to get congregations excited about Israel.