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The Odd Couple: Reform Judaism and Zionism



by Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D. Making sweeping historical generalizations is easy. Lots of people make them, even the best of historians. Broad statements can be a “necessary evil” when one is faced with limited time or space to make an historical point. But generalities can easily mutate into over-simplifications that ultimately obscure – if […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

How to Ensure Reform Voices and Values are Heard Throughout the World



Shalom from Jerusalem! I arrived on Sunday – together with many other Diaspora Jewish leaders – for the 37th Zionist Congress – often referred to as “The Parliament of the Jewish People.” Especially as our hearts break as our people are viciously attacked throughout this beloved land, taking us further and further from the peace […]

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The Future of Reform Judaism: How Can We Lead in Challenging Times?



This fall, the URJ’s Leadership Institute is offering a series of three sessions about key concepts that we hope will inspire sacred action within congregations. The series began with Allison Fine’s session about “matterness” and values alignment. The second session is hosted by Marty Linsky, who will discuss leading in challenging times at the URJ Biennial […]

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The World Zionist Congress Begins This Week – and the Reform Movement is There!



I am sure that over the past couple of weeks you have watched the news coming out of Israel with grave concern. These new terror attacks are both difficult to deter and impossible to predict: One Israeli friend of mine commented, “It feels like 2002 all over again, except all the lessons we learned about […]

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Emerging Reform Summer Camp Affirms the Jewish Future in France



By Rabbi Tom Cohen The terrorist attacks in Paris last January suggested to some French Jews that they try to find a safer haven elsewhere. For many others, however, these traumas have only reinforced the desire to continue building a proud Liberal Jewish community in France that is faithful to the prophetic dream of being […]

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Learning Opportunity: Closing the Gap between Good Intentions and Bad Results



This fall, the URJ’s Leadership Institute is offering a series of three sessions about key concepts that we hope will inspire sacred action within congregations. In this post, Allison Fine discusses values alignment and “matterness.” To learn more, listen to the recording of her session “Making People Matter – More than Just Something We Say.” […]

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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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Reform Jewish Movement Response to Iran Deal: Address Important Concerns, Focus on the Day After



Following extensive consultations with experts from across the political spectrum in both the United States and Israel, and thoughtful conversation with North American Reform Jewish leaders, the Reform Jewish Movement today issued a leadership statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The statement – released today by the leaders of the Union for […]

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The Loss of “Matterness” in Synagogue Life: An Interview with Allison Fine



Allison Fine, past president of Temple Beth Abraham in Tarrytown, N.Y., is the co-author of The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change (with Beth Kanter); author of Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age; and, most recently, author of Matterness: Fearless Leadership for a Social World. You have said that synagogues […]

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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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Comedy, Disability, and the Inclusive Synagogue: An ELI Talk



Pam Schuller is my hero. She’s not just my hero because she’s one of the outstanding Reform Jewish youth professionals who works day and night to connect with so many of teens and congregations in NFTY’s Garden Empire Region (which includes central and northern New Jersey and New York’s Rockland and Orange counties). She’s not […]

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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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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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Honoring Congregations that are Leading the Way on Disabilities Inclusion



The Reform Movement is exceptionally proud of Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, senior advisor on disabilities issues at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, who was recently presented with the Thornburgh Family Award in recognition of her years of service on behalf of people with disabilities. As the inaugural recipient of this award, Rabbi Landsberg was […]

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