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Rabbi Rick Jacobs’ Letter to Delegates at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly



Copies of this letter are being given to delegates at the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly in Detroit, MI, who will be voting this week on several Israel-focused resolutions related to Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Dear Friend, As the president of America’s largest Jewish denomination, representing 1.5 million North American Jews, it is my […]

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Celebrating NFTY’s Diamond Jubilee



Taking the words of the prophet Joel as the refrain of her 1981 classic song “And The Youth Shall See Visions,” Debbie Friedman captured the role of young people in our Movement: And the old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions, And our hopes shall rise up to the sky. For 75 […]

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Shalom from Israel! URJ Board Trip is Underway



Shalom from Eretz Yisrael! I’m thrilled to be here in Jerusalem as part of the first URJ Board of Trustees Mission to Israel, led by Rabbi Rick Jacobs. This is a critical, working trip to advance the goals of our movement. We just arrived Tuesday night, but here’s a rundown of some of the highlights […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

What Is Audacious Hospitality?



The Jewish people is here today because those who came before us were audacious. By that I mean courageous, fearless, and bold. Genesis teaches us to practice audacious hospitality. On a blisteringly hot day, Abraham runs after three desert wanderers, insisting they come inside for nourishment. What makes his act so memorable is not waiting […]

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This Ain’t Your Father’s Reform Judaism



by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein One Friday night in December, I prayed at a Baptist-style, tent-revival, amen/hallelujah, neo-Hasidic Jewish service. Yes, that was Shabbat at the URJ Biennial, and although I was prepared for the spirit of it, based on my years in youth group, I wasn’t quite prepared for the spirituality of it. I grew […]

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Bringing 5,000 Voices to My Southern Jewish School



Not raised in the movement, I found it was just like when I first started my job as a Nadiv Educator with the URJ. I was once again being plunged into “Reform Boot Camp.” I found myself “always thinking” thinking like I think at camp. Thinking like I think at school

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Anat Hoffman’s Biennial Address: “More Than One Way to Be Jewish”



[Editor's Note: This address was given by Noa Sattath on behalf of Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center and chairwoman of Women of the Wall, on Saturday night at the URJ Biennial.] Anat lost her voice. Despite all the remedies and chicken soup suggested by many in this conference, she can’t speak. […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Unpacking the URJ Biennial



by Jaclyn Cohen Wow. That’s not a word I use often enough. But I will use it to describe the past four days, which I spent in San Diego along with about 5,000 others at the Union for Reform Judaism‘s 2013 Biennial. Every two years, the URJ gathers together thousands of Reform Jews – lay […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Community and Leadership, Whether You’re at Biennial or Not



by Rachel Roth [Editor's Note: The following post was presented as a drash at an executive meeting of the American Conference of Cantors on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.] One of the most interesting statistics that I found in the Pew Study is the somewhat low rate of importance of being part of a community as […]

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Top 18 Phrases Overheard at the URJ Biennial



The URJ Biennial is where Jews gather to learn, pray, share ideas, dance and sing, hear from inspiring guest speakers, reunite with old friends, make new connections, and reimagine Jewish life. Whether this is your first Biennial or you’ve been coming for years, you’re sure to hear – and say! – variations of a few […]

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Don’t Give Up on Jews Who Care About Being Jewish



Last week, the Pew Center for Research released a new study of American Jews that is still reverberating throughout the Jewish world and beyond. But so much of the analysis has been locked into binary categories: Who won and who lost? Is the glass half full or half empty? Are Jews a religion or a […]

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URJ Awards Grants to Fund Taste of Judaism™ Classes



The Union for Reform Judaism has awarded grants to congregations in 17 cities to offer Taste of Judaism ™, a free, three-session class for beginners – Jewish or not – that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values. A Taste of Judaism™ is a high-visibility, low-threshold program of liberal Jewish content designed […]

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“Reinventing The Bar Mitzvah” on HuffPost Live



On the heels of last week’s New York Times article on the Reform Movement’s efforts to revamp and reinvigorate b’nai mitzvah, HuffPost Live recently ran a great segment on the same topic, featuring the URJ’s own Rabbi Bradley Solmsen on a panel of guests. As Director of Youth Engagement, Rabbi Solmsen heads the Reform Movement’s […]

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The New Bar Mitzvah: Read All About It!



Just before Rosh HaShanah, the New York Times ran a story titled “Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith.” The piece introduces readers to the Reform Movement’s new B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, an initiative to reinvent the bar and bat mitzvah that began with 13 pilot congregations. The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las […]

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