Archive by Author

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Reform Youth Leaders Debrief AIPAC Conference



By Debbie Rabinovich, Andrew Keene, and Jeremy Cronig American Jews are extremely passionate about Israel. Regardless of sect, political affiliation, or region of the country, 16,000 people came to Washington, D.C., for the AIPAC Policy Conference for the sole purpose of advocating for Israel. The enormity of this event was a physical representation of the […]

Read more

Kindling the Flame of Education in Our Students



by Emily Messinger Philosophers – Jewish and otherwise – have long shared their individual insights into the philosophy of education. For educators, such insights can teach us about our students, how we relate to them, the challenges we offer them, and the ways we shape them into the best they can be.

Read more

Life As A Youth Summit Intern



by Rachael Harvey As an individual who is passionate about the Movement and youth engagement, the Youth Summit marked the next big step towards my intentional career path of becoming a Jewish professional. I had never been to a Youth professional conference before, or even a NFTY Convention. Overall, I was not sure what to expect […]

Read more

Green Eggs and Hamantaschen: Creative Purim Gift Bags Bring a Community Together



by Betsy Zalaznick Purim at Or Chadash, in Flemington, N.J., includes many of the usual traditions: putting on a Purim spiel (play), using boxes of pasta as gragers, baking hamantaschen with our students, reading the Megillah, and hosting a spectacular carnival that features Esther’s Salon, Mordecai’s March Madness, a photo booth, and plenty of prizes […]

Read more

We’re Youth Educators, Not Youth Workers



by Rabbi Melissa Zalkin Stollman What went on at the Youth Summit? Yes, learning. Yes, networking. Yes, collaboration. But so much more. Experimentation. Visioning. Celebration. Inspiration. In addition to watching NFTY teens celebrate and pray together, we too needed this opportunity to join as a community.

Read more

Understanding Teen Brains, Creating Jewish Adults



In our work as youth professionals, are we trying to create a youth community, or plant the seeds for vibrant, lifelong Jewish living? Understanding adolescent neurology can help unlock secrets for successful youth engagement.

Read more

The Joy of Generational Leadership



by Dr. Madelyn Mishkin Katz It’s the summer of 1983. I’m a 28-year-old student at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) preparing for a career in Jewish education, and spending my summer on staff at URJ Camp Swig (presently URJ Camp Newman) in Saratoga, California.

Read more

Striking the Balance Between Formal and Informal Learning



By Adam Organ During NFTY Youth’s text study, Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of HUC-JIR (and former Regional Board member of NFTY-NAR, former trip leader for NFTY in Israel, and former Regional Advisor of NFTY-MAR) lead a discussion titled “The Study of Torah is Equal to Them All,” based on the teachings of RaMBam (Maimonides). The […]

Read more

Why BBYO is Our Partner



What is the role of the synagogue in the “multiplex” of compelling local offerings for teenagers? One rabbi shares his congregation’s strategy for ensuring that there’s an option for every teen.

Read more