Archive by Author

What Makes Jewish Science Camp So Special?



by Stephen Weitzman At the beginning of many episodes of his epic Twilight Zone television series, Rod Serling would often intone, “You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.” That description could be printed […]

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How Synagogues Can Prioritize Disability Inclusion This High Holiday Season



by Jay Ruderman With the High Holidays just around the corner, Jews all over the world will be asking themselves how they can lead more meaningful and moral lives. Synagogue communities, too, will be asking themselves how they can become more holy and inclusive communities. In my years of involvement with disability inclusion, I’ve observed that change […]

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What My Vacation Taught Me About Audacious Hospitality



by Frieda Hershman Huberman Vacation enables us to reflect, rejuvenate, recharge our batteries, and look at life from a fresh perspective – and sometimes, it’s the actual vacation experience itself that becomes a learning opportunity. While on a short getaway this summer, I gleaned new insights on audacious hospitality, one of the Reform Movement’s top […]

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How We’re Creating Vibrant Jewish Life in Israel and Around the World



by Rabbi Nir Barkin The Book of Deuteronomy, my favorite, begins with this passage as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land: These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. – Through the wilderness, in the Arabah (desert)…in accordance with the instructions that God had […]

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Celebrating Rosh Chodesh in Your Congregation



by Annice Benamy Also in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed seasons, and in your new moons, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings; and they will be a memorial for you before your God.  I am the Lord your God.” —Numbers 6:6 What is Rosh Chodesh? Rosh Chodesh […]

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The Ripple Effects of Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Mentorship



By Rabbi Laura Novak Winer When I recently asked a group of colleagues to help me think about examples from pop culture in which teens mentor other teens, we found it surprisingly difficult to come up with genuine examples. In the movie Clueless (1995), Cher (Alicia Silverstone) becomes the self-appointed fashion mentor to a new […]

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Get Your Teens To Teach Torah



At 17-years-old, Joseph is one of the only identified teenagers in the Torah. Joseph is a complicated teen with a fierce rivalry with his brothers and a love of clothing. Joseph’s dreams, which tradition believes came from God, lack any mention of the divine and have no connection to sacred text. That Joseph’s story was taking place in the 37th chapter of the 1st book of that sacred text might have been a reason.

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8 Great Reasons to Attend the Biennial



by Jan Marion, Raymond Capelouto, and Luise Mann Burger With an eye on the quickly approaching September 10th early bird registration deadline, we’re delighted to offer eight excellent reasons for you and your fellow congregational leaders to attend the URJ Biennial 2015 from November 4-8 at the award-winning Marriott World Center in Orlando, FL: The best […]

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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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