Archive by Author

The Three Keys to Connecting to a Congregational Community



by Andy Wayne As the cake arrived, glowing with candles, the group of nearly 40 women began to sing “Happy Birthday” to the lone man at the table. Their smiles lit up the room as their voices came together in celebration. True, they had only met the man two days before, but their happiness and […]

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Strategies for Success: Reviewing Membership Materials



by Janet Buckstein Most membership-based organizations, including congregations and temple sisterhoods, use a variety of methods to communicate with current and prospective members. These may include printed and online material, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and even phone calls, presentations, and personal meetings. However, the standard material typically includes brochures/pamphlets, letters, membership forms […]

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Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue



In his original publication, Ben Singer shared his secret for getting young people to join the synagogue. Six months later, we ask: how have your ideas about youth engagement transformed your own career?

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Together in Israel: Reimagining the Congregational Israel Trip



We check in with the Community Synagogue in Port Washington, NY, which, after a recent congregational trip to Israel, shares successful strategies for building intergenerational relationships and reimagining the “standard” congregational trip.

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Permission Granted: How the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Impacted Our Congregation



Rabbi Ben David recently shared with us what the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution looked like in his congregation. What’s changed at Adath Emanu-El since participating in the pilot cohort?

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The Torah of Coalition



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg When Eliezer Ben Yehuda set out to assemble a new, Hebrew language dictionary, he needed to create terminology for modern day concepts that are not found in our ancient sources.  Although many of his words caught on and are used regularly, many others did not.  Recently, I was reminded of two […]

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The Scheidt Seminar: Learning and Bonding With My Peers



by Jonathan Cheris After two years as executive vice president of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, I am about to become president of this sacred place that is my home away from home. Thanks to the work of the incredible leaders in whose footsteps I follow, our membership numbers are growing and our programs are thriving […]

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How Tots Helped Our Small Congregation Grow



By Harriet Skelly In 2013, Congregation Shir Ami in Castro Valley, CA, was at its lowest membership in 15 years. Several years earlier, we had implemented a new, low-cost dues structure in the hopes that it would help increase the membership. At about the same time, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform […]

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Had’rachah: Inspiring Congregants to Lead



by Ken Hahn Last summer, I spent five days at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), one of the URJ’s 15 summer camps across North America that runs programs for Jewish youth from elementary school through high school. But I’m not a camper, nor am I a camp parent – so why was I there? […]

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Communities of Practice: Learning, Change, and Other Benefits that Strengthen Congregations



by Amy Asin and Rabbi Esther L. Lederman On May 5th, the URJ will launch applications for a new set of Communities of Practice (CoPs). Topics will include: Building a Brand: Excellence in Reform Movement Early Childhood Engagement Creating Connected Communities for Families with Young Children (for congregations without Early Childhood Centers) Strengthening Israel Engagement […]

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Counting Days and Making Days Count



By Rabbi Josh Weinberg And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering-the day after the Shabbat – you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week – fifty days; then you shall bring an offering of new grain to […]

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Relational Judaism: How Building Community Helped Us Change Our Dues Model



By Dani Robbins My career has taken me to multiple cities in several states, and each time I’ve moved, I’ve looked for a new religious home by calling around to local synagogues. I found it off-putting, however, when the people on the other end talked to me about money before they welcomed me or invited […]

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Why My Congregation Hosts “A Taste of Judaism®” Classes – and Yours Should, Too



by Rabbi Marc Katz Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of hosting A Taste of Judaism® classes at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, N.Y. The first time was at a local restaurant; the second was in the synagogue building. Over the course of teaching this class, I have learned a number […]

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Making Change Where it Counts: Voting for the Prophetic Ideals of Liberal Judaism in Israel



by Rabbi Jack Luxemburg “And Moses assembled the entirety of the Jewish people …” (Exodus 35:1) Whether a Tabernacle in the desert or at the Temple in Jerusalem, vast numbers of our people would gather to celebrate and experience Jewish life on a grand scale. This past February, I had a somewhat comparable experience. It […]

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