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Twenty Becomes One: Seeing Our Congregations as Family, Especially During Hardship



by Larry Glickman In the fall of 2008, I was the executive director of a 1,000-household synagogue. We had recently finished a major sanctuary renovation, and our membership numbers were on an encouraging upward trend. Our finances were sound, and we had big plans for the year ahead. The new president of our board was […]

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60+ Reform Rabbis to Shave Their Heads in Support of Pediatric Cancer Research



During the 125th annual Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) Convention, more than 60 Reform rabbis will shave their heads to raise awareness of and funding for pediatric cancer research. As the religious leadership of Reform Judaism, the CCAR Rabbis strive for justice and wholeness and health in the world in for all people. At […]

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Jay Ruderman: Disability Issues are Issues of Social Justice



by Jay Ruderman Wikipedia defines social justice as, “the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.” This definition can be broken down into three parts: realizing potential, in society, and where they live. For Jewish people with disabilities, each of these parts presents a challenge – and for the […]

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A Special Worship Service for Jews with Disabilities and Their Families



by Nancy Crown When I was called to meet with a member of my synagogue’s Congregation-Based Community Organizing Committee, I almost declined.  I was asked to think about what the temple could do that it was not already doing. My main reaction was to reflect on the many opportunities for learning, worship, and community that […]

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The Chadash Program – A New Path for Young Adults with Disabilities



And then we asked, “what’s next?” It seemed only right and necessary that Coleman would be part of the next stage in Gideon’s life journey. So, in partnership with Bobby Harris and the Coleman community that is our family home, the Chadash program has been born. “Chadash” means “new,” and this truly is a new opportunity, a new path – one that can help give young adults with disabilities tools and skills for life success.

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URJ President to Spend Night at Homeless Shelter He Founded 30 Years Ago



In 1983, when Rabbi Rick Jacobs was the rabbi at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (BHS), he had a vision to start a shelter to address the growing problem of homelessness in New York City. Thirty years later, the first synagogue-based homeless shelter in New York City is still responding to the need, run by volunteers from […]

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Reform Movement Allocates $125k for Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts



On November 7-8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, made landfall in the Philippines. The storm came on the heels of an October earthquake that had affected more than 3 million people and disrupted life for more than 14 million Filipinos (nearly 15% of the total population). According to UNICEF, nearly […]

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Twitter as a Means to Process a Professional Conference: Reflections on @URJ’s Biennial13



It happens every time. I forget how truly overwhelming the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial convention will be. I know that I will be busy with sessions, presentations and meetings. I know that I will walk (and walk and walk); that I will learn, talk, laugh and sing. And I know that I won’t nearly […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Fostering Inclusion and Accessibility at the 2013 Biennial



Anyone who has attended a URJ Biennial knows that the experience touches your soul, lifts your spirits, increases your Judaic knowledge, and improves your singing ability. Now, the 2013 Biennial will also help congregations and individuals understand how to include those with disabilities as welcome and appreciated full members of your community. This Biennial will […]

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Make Miracles Happen This Hanukkah by Helping Ethan Kadish



On June 29, at Goldman Union Camp Institute, a URJ summer camp near Indianapolis, Ethan Kadish was teaching a group of younger children how to play ultimate Frisbee when a bolt of lightning struck him to the ground. Today, Ethan is in the Rehabilitation Unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital preparing for his upcoming discharge to […]

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Help the URJ Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan



In the early morning hours of November 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. The equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the region’s Pacific Islands. Initial accounts indicate that as many as 10,000 lives have been lost, and authorities […]

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URJ’s Camp Dream Street Named to Prestigious Slingshot Guide



Camp Dream Street Mississippi, a five-day camping program for children with disabilities, has been named one of 18 leading Jewish organizations committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities in the prestigious Slingshot Guide, created as a guidebook to help funders diversify their giving portfolios to include the most innovative and effective organizations, programs and […]

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Camp Newman’s Got Soul



Four years ago I was given a wonderful invitation to join the Nefesh Faculty at Camp Newman for two weeks. Not only were my kids ready to go to Jewish summer camp, like my husband and I did when we were younger, but I could go back to camp? As a School Counselor with summers off it sounded like an intriguing offer.

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