Archive by Author

“You Say You Want a Revolution”



By Mark S. Anshan I had the privilege of serving as the National Federation of Temple Youth’s president from 1970-1971. In those years, my wife Brenda (from Bradford, PA) and I (a Torontonian) belonged to NELFTY (North Eastern Lakes Federation of Temple Youth), where I had served as president from 1968-1969. We were witness to […]

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Mitzvah Corps: The Power of Community, The Power of Self



By Alex Rogers, Avra Bossov, and Matt Liebman As a central tenet of Reform Judaism, tikkun olam – repairing the world – can seem overwhelming. How does one take on such a task as an individual? For over 50 years, Mitzvah Corps has empowered Jewish teenagers across the continent to infuse this concept into their […]

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A Force to be Reckoned With



by Cantor Ellen Dreskin I remember the first time I met Debbie Friedman. In the fall of 1974, I was a college freshman. Rabbi Sam Karff from Congregation Beth Israel in Houston (my home) let me know that Debbie would be spending a Shabbat at Beth Israel, presenting her new Hanukkah service, “Not by Might, […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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