URJ Commemorates Ten Years of Ten Minutes of Torah
The Union of Refom Judaism commemorates 10 years of Ten Minutes of Torah, a daily email that is one of the most successful and innovative distance learning initiatives in the Jewish world. In 2003, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then URJ president launched Ten Minutes of Torah at the URJ Biennial convention in Minneapolis:
Desperate to keep up, insecure about what we don’t know, we find time to stuff information of every kind into our heads. If we make time to answer our cell phones a dozen times a day and to check our email five times an hour, surely we can find 10 minutes to contemplate sacred words that nourish the soul
He proclaimed that Reform Jews must study Torah on a regular basis and that even 10 minutes of study each day could transform lives.
Ten years later, more than 20,000 subscribers each day receive an email that brings the Jewish world to them. From Torah commentaries written by scholars to recipes for baking challah, Ten Minutes of Torah explores the great variety of Jewish life. Over the years, subscribers have studied the history of Jews in America, the lives of Jews in Israel, Mishnah, Jewish ethics, Hebrew, the weekly Torah portion and prayer (t’filah).
Rabbi Victor Appell URJ’s congregational marketing director, who manages the Ten Minutes of Torah initiative, says,
Ten Minutes of Torah is a pioneer in reaching Jewish audiences electronically and may be the most successful adult education endeavor in the Jewish world today. Few programs have reached as many people.
Through its daily editions, subscribers have learned by email from more than 500 of the top luminaries in Reform Jewish life. Ten Minutes of Torah has also spawned associate projects, such as audio Torah commentaries and educational webinars. Hundreds of congregations and educational programs have used Ten Minutes of Torah materials as the basis for their own adult education and Torah study programs.
In 2014, there will be a weekly Ten Minutes of Torah edition devoted to youth and the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement. There will also be a weekly email dedicated to Jewish arts and culture.
Anyone who is interested, may sign up to receive a one-page e-mail each day on a topic of Jewish interest.