Archive by Author

How to Effectively Manage a Board or Committee Meeting



by fredi Bleeker Franks Mazel tov! You’re in charge of the next meeting of your congregation or sisterhood. Before panic sets in, take a deep breath and read on for some great suggestions and things to consider to help you win friends, influence people, and run a great meeting. Consider your physical setting: Think about […]

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Coming Full Circle: The NFTY in Israel Tikkun Olam Experience



by Sharon Mann The phrase “what goes around, comes around” came to mind recently as I remembered back five years to the time I saw my daughter, Ayelet, off on a flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto, Canada. She was headed to URJ Camp George, a Reform Jewish summer camp where she would spend the […]

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Looking Back at Kutz@50… and Then Looking Forward



By Rabbi Michael A. White I recently returned from a magical week as a faculty member at the URJ Kutz Camp, the Reform Movement’s teen leadership institute at the foothills of the Catskills in Warwick, N.Y. My week at Kutz brought back memories of my first visit some 37 years ago. Nearly four decades ago, […]

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How Our Teens Built an Active Presence at Our Temple



by Kara Liu Youth engagement is about more than just teens. Rather, effective youth engagement is a whole organism made up of parents, leaders, and the young people themselves. That’s the main takeaway from my experience at a recent day of professional development at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, organized by […]

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Kutz@50: A Gathering of the Generations



by Rabbi Lisa Silverstein Tzur It was truly a “standing at Sinai” moment. Despite geographical challenges, limited financial resources, and a national holiday, more than 650 Reform Jews came from around the world last weekend to reconnect with URJ Kutz Camp, the sacred place so many of us have called home over the years. We […]

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Boomers in Transition: How Our Synagogue Meets the Needs of New Empty Nesters



by Fran Martin It had the makings of a perfect storm. In 2008, I joined Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. That same summer, at a synagogue get-together of BoomeRS – members who gather for social, spiritual, and educational opportunities at Rodeph Shalom and beyond – many in the group realized they all had children who […]

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The 7 Vital Signs of a Healthy Congregation



by Ron Wolfson As one who has worked in the field of synagogue transformation for more than 20 years, I am often asked, “What are the vital signs of a healthy congregation?” Here are seven vital signs I look for in taking the pulse of a community:

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Succession Planning: An Integral Piece of Your Leadership Portfolio



by Alan Zeichick In this week’s Torah portion, Pinchas, God instructs Moses, “Ascend these heights of Abarim and view the land that I have given to the Israelite people. When you have seen it, you too shall be gathered to your kin, just as your brother Aaron was.” Although Moses had a marvelous opportunity to […]

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Engaging and Enriching Older Immigrants to Israel



by Sharon Mann Congregations are always thinking of new ways to attract and interest younger members. While this is, of course, essential, it is perhaps just as important for congregations to consider what they are doing to engage and enrich older members who want to remain connected as they deal with circumstances that arise later […]

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Why We Closed Our Synagogue’s Preschool and Started Over from Scratch



by Rachel Stein As a former preschool teacher and director, I was enjoying my role as a parent and lay leader on the “other side” in our preschool at North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, IL. As my two boys happily made their way through our small preschool, I chaired the parent committee and volunteered […]

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5 Tips for Networking with Other Synagogue Leaders



by Luisa Narins Stranger danger! We have been taught to embrace this phrase since we were children, but how does it affect our relationships as adults? Strangers can be inherently dangerous, and it is difficult to open up and meet new people. I moved to the United States for college with no family around me. […]

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Partners in Success



It’s easy to “talk the talk” when it comes to creating successful partnerships. But Camp Newman wanted to truly build and sustain meaningful partnerships with local congregations. Here’s how they did it, and what you can learn from their experiment.

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9 Jewish Education Lessons from the Field



by Michelle Shapiro Abraham Director of program development for the URJ’s Campaign for Youth Engagement, Michelle Shapiro Abraham, is a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Here, she draws on her extensive experience to offer this sound advice to educators and congregational leaders. Every day I feel honored and […]

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Graduating Seniors: Let Them Talk, And You Might Like What You Hear



As we head into summer, one congregation reflects on how we honor graduating seniors, and the thinking behind why they do what they do.

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