2013 URJ Biennial

Join the Virtual Biennial Experience!

Can’t join us next week at the URJ Biennial? You can be a part of the convention from the comfort of your own home! We’ll be live-streaming all plenary sessions and Shabbat worship at www.urj.org/biennial, or you can watch the sessions on cable when they play live on JLTV.

You can also join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #Biennial13; we’ll be live-tweeting all the plenaries, and we look forward to interacting with you through our account, @URJ. Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page for highlights, photos, and more.

Below is a schedule of Biennial plenary sessions and services that will be streamed live. It’s the next best thing to being there in person!

Opening Plenary
Wed., Dec. 11th, 7:30-9:30pm PST (10:30pm-12:30am EST)
At this opening session, we’ll kick off the URJ Biennial by welcoming attendees to San Diego! Jay Feinberg, founder and CEO of Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, will receive the Maurice N. Eisendrath “Bearer of Light” Award, and Rabbi Rick Jacobs will present the Alexander M. Schindler Award to World Jewry to Rabbi David Hartman, z’’l, an award accepted by his son. We’ll also honor Jews who serve in the United States Armed Services, hear an update about Reform Jewish issues in Israel, be treated to stand-up comedy from Joel Chasnoff, and rock out at a performance from Jewish musicians Rick Recht & Julie Silver.

Plenary Two
Thurs., Dec. 12th, 7:30-9:30pm (10:30pm-12:30am EST)
Our featured speaker will be Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. We’ll introduce you to URJ Six Points Sci-Tech Academy, one of the URJ’s two newest summer camps, and Rabbi Daniel Freelander, the URJ’s senior vice president, will speak about “Building Our Movement.” Spoken-word artist Andrew Lustig will perform, followed by a show from Jewish rockers Josh Nelson and Dan Nichols.

Plenary Three
Fri., Dec. 13th, 10:15 am-12:15pm PST (1:15-3:15pm EST)
We’ll discuss the implications of the recent Pew Center Research study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” featuring Rabbi Elka Abramson of the Wexner Foundation and Dr. Sarah Benor of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. We’ll also celebrate 10 years of the URJ’s Ten Minutes of Torah initiative, recognize award-winning congregations, and celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the American Conference of Cantors. Rabbi David Saperstein and Jay Ruderman of the Ruderman Family Foundation will discuss accessibility and inclusion in the Jewish community, and we’ll end the session with a performance from Billy Jonas.

Kabbalat Shabbat T’filah
Fri., Dec. 13th, 5:45-6:45pm (8:45-9:45pm EST)
Services will be led by the clergy team at Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley, MA.

Shabbat Song Session
Fri., Dec. 13th, 9:15-10:15pm (Sat., Dec. 14th, 12:15-1:15am EST)
This Shabbat event is a Biennial favorite, featuring all your favorite music from camp and youth group – live!

Shabbat Shacharit T’filah (starting at the Barechu)
Sat., Dec. 14th, 10am-12:30pm (1-3:30pm EST)
Morning services will be led by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the URJ, and Rabbi/Cantor Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. The Torah-reading will begin with a Seder Kriat haTorah by Storahtelling founder Amichai Lau Lavie and the Dance Exchange’s Liz Lerman, and our d’var Torah will come from Rabbi David Ellenson, outgoing president of HUC-JIR, who we’ll honor in the lead-up to his retirement.

Plenary Four, including Havdalah and WRJ Centennial Celebration
Sat., Dec. 14th, 8:30-10pm (11:30pm-1am EST)
We’ll do Havdalah together and then spend the evening honoring Women of Reform Judaism as they celebrate their 100th anniversary. This session, “Extraordinary Women Shaping Reform Judaism,” will include the presentation of URJ Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award to Women of Reform Judaism & presentation of the WRJ Jane Evans Award to Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center. We’ll also honor the 75th Anniversary of the founding of NFTY, and then head into musical performances from some of the best women in Jewish music today: Beth Schafer, Michelle Citrin, Peri Smilow, Naomi Less, Elana Jagoda, and Julie Silver.

Closing Plenary
Sun., Dec. 15th, 8:30-10:30am (11:30am-1:30 EST)
We’ll wrap up the Biennial with an address from Rabbi Aaron Panken, president-elect of HUC-JIR, on “What’s Next for our Youth? Setting Inspired Engagement in Motion.” We’ll also kick off the World Zionist Congress Election Campaign, hear from ARZA president Rabbi Josh Weinberg, and end with a performance from Jewish musical favorite Craig Taubman.



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From the URJ


  1. You Can Be At the 2013 Biennial Too! | Vassar Temple Blog - December 8, 2013

    […] Attend some of the activities “virtually” on-line – no travel hassles, no expense, from the comfort of your own computer! Here’s a link that will get you there. […]

  2. Will I see you there? | Rabbi Eleanor Steinman - December 10, 2013

    […] If you can get to San Diego it is not too late to register. There are a lot of different types of registrations (you can register just for Shabbat or one day or the entire convention). If you cannot be in San Diego, check out the Virtual Biennial experience! […]

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