Archive by Author

Achieving Excellence by Pursuing Excellence in our Early Childhood Center



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Dr. Paula Sayag As an early childhood consultant with Washington, D.C.’s central Jewish education agency, […]

Read more

The Challenges of Teaching about Israel



by Jack Wertheimer With the new school year nearly upon us, Jewish educational leaders are scrambling to prepare their teachers to discuss this summer’s Gaza War. The most pressing challenge is to design age-appropriate conversations: At which grade level might classroom discussions include potentially frightening topics, such as the wounding of non-combatants, kidnapping of young […]

Read more

NFTY Regions – It Takes a Village and We are a Village



by Julie Marsh Many people wonder about the “magic” of NFTY, the power to bring teenagers together, create a holy community, and create lasting relationships. As a regional advisor, I am often asked how, when, and who creates that NFTY “magic.” To many, these questions are complicated, and to be honest, when it comes to […]

Read more

The Porch: It’s Southern, It’s Open, and It’s Jewish



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas When I was ordained a cantor in 2011, I never imagined […]

Read more

L’dor V’dor: From Adults, to Teens, to Kids, Camp Shalom Inspires



With the nearest Jewish day camps more than an hour away, one congregation turned to its teens to offer its community a transformational summer experience for members of all ages.

Read more

A Jewish Junta



By Rabbi Jonah Pesner Who recruited you into NFTY? Who invited you to your first event? Who tapped you on the shoulder, and suggested you should become involved in a Jewish youth group? I remember them. They called themselves “The Junta.” Sometimes they were referred to as a “gang of four.” They were the four […]

Read more

Investing in the Next Generation: The URJ’s Emerging Young Adult Initiatives Community of Practice



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg and Adam Freedman Judaism is constantly evolving, addressing new challenges and needs, […]

Read more

How to Get Youth Into Your Synagogue



The secret to ensuring a strong Jewish future is to provide opportunities for young people to engage deeply in an important part of our tradition.

Read more

Natan Sharansky Speaks to URJ Camp Staffers About the Conflict in Israel



by Hanoch Greenberg The URJ’s shlichim (Israeli emissaries) were privileged last month to participate in a webinar with Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, in which he discussed the ongoing Operation Protective Edge and its implications for the shlichim, who were working in the Diaspora as conflict escalated in Israel. For […]

Read more

Encouraging Leadership with Both Hands



By Celia Tedde and Jeremy Cronig “Da lifnei mi atah omeid–know before whom you stand.” This quote from Talmud B’rachot 28b has been the central focus of our experience in the Leadership Academy at the URJ Kutz Camp. This summer, we spent four weeks in Warwick, NY learning and developing our leadership skills. The URJ […]

Read more

Sing Unto God, Sing a New Song! A Reflection from the Kutz Songleading Major



By Eva Turner This summer at URJ’s Kutz Camp was the second year I chose the Songleading Major. Many people asked, “why do the same major again?” to which I always responded, “I need new music.” In truth, I decided to participate in songleading for a second time because I believe you can never learn […]

Read more

NFTY in the early 2000s: Years of Change and Engagement



By Hope Chernak, RJE The early 2000s provided many opportunities for teen voices and NFTY,the Reform Jewish Youth Movement initiatives to be implemented in the Reform movement. I joined the NFTY staff in 1999 and witnessed incredible moments during my eight years with NFTY’s teen leadership The first time I saw firsthand how our teens […]

Read more

Colleagues, friends and family gather to remember Rabbi David J. Forman



By Terry Hendin Some 65 people ranging in age from a few months to 95 years old gathered in Jerusalem’s Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood on Monday, May 19, 2014 at the Kehilat HaDror Community Garden.  The Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood was the home to our colleague, mentor, teacher and friend, the late Rabbi David J. Forman. Rabbi […]

Read more

The Walkman Generation – NFTY in the ‘80s



By Rabbi Roxanne J. Schneider Shapiro More than the Jewish people have kept the Sabbath; the Sabbath has kept the Jewish people. – Ahad Ha’am When I reflect on NFTY in the ‘80s, I would revise Ha’am’s quote to: More than Reform Jewish teenagers have kept NFTY; NFTY has kept Reform Jewish teenagers. I cannot […]

Read more