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Sacred Giving: How Reform Congregations are Reimagining Financial Support



Nearly every congregation today faces the challenge of trying to increase or stabilize revenue, so it’s no surprise that in the last few weeks alone, the Jewish press published three separate pieces on the subject: eJewishPhilanthropy shared an overview of the changing landscape and what that may look like for particular synagogues. They explain the […]

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This Month in The Tent: No Summer Slowdown Here!



Much of the world slows down during the summer, and even synagogues aren’t the hustling, bustling places they typically are during the rest of the year. Nonetheless, conversations continue unabated in The Tent, the URJ’s online communication and collaboration forum. Many of the current discussions focus on planning for 5776, with these conversations proving especially […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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This Month in The Tent: Preparing for Passover



As your congregation prepares for Passover, find terrific holiday resources throughout The Tent, the Reform Movement’s communication and collaboration platform. In The Tent, you’ll find ideas, materials, and opportunities for clergy and lay leaders to share expertise and experiences about all facets of congregational life. This year, Passover begins on Friday, April 3. Because it […]

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Don’t Forget: February is “Strengthening Congregations Webinar Month”!



As you may know, February is “Strengthening Congregations Webinar Month” here at the URJ. At the halfway point, more than 300 congregational leaders have joined live webinars to learn more about what makes a congregation strong and how the URJ is evolving to help you become or continue to be a strong congregation. The feedback […]

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Five Lessons Learned: How the URJ’s Communities of Practice Strengthen Congregations



by Amy Asin and Lisa Lieberman Barzilai Two years ago, the Union for Reform Judaism launched its Communities of Practice (CoP) initiative. We began with five separate cohorts, comprising lay and professional leaders from congregations throughout North America: Pursuing Excellence in Your Early Childhood Centers Engaging Families with Young Children Engaging Young Adults Reimagining Financial […]

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This Should Be a Word: “Congfirmation”



Every week I look for the “That Should Be a Word” column in The One-Page Magazine in the Sunday New York Times. The column, if you can call it that, has an amazing knack for coining a good neologism – a new word or phrase. The humor, smarts, and creativity of the words inspired me to create my own […]

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Moving Our Community from a “Serve Us” to a “Service” Mentality



by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas I’ve had the privilege to learn from URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs on several occasions, the most recent of which was in January 2013 in Chicago. I was there, along with a lay partner, and representatives from a handful of other congregations to form the first cohort of the URJ’s […]

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Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web



Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know! “Reform and Conservative Camping Movements’ will Engage Synagogue Youth Year Round,” eJewish Philanthropy This week, the camping movements of […]

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Hitting a Home Run for the Temple



With a little ingenuity, my synagogue managed to combine fundraising and socializing at a recent event. The Long Island Ducks are an independent baseball team located in Suffolk county Long Island, part of the Atlantic League. Every year, the team invites groups to sing either the national anthem prior to the game or a mid-game […]

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Ten Commandments for Talking About Dues



by Rob Berkovitz If we examine carefully the ways in which we discuss dues with prospective members and respond to requests for dues adjustments, we discover that many times we do not act in ways that truly reflect the Jewish values we prize so dearly. The following “ten commandments” were created to engender discussion among […]

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Explaining Synagogue Dues to Those Who Are New



Synagogue dues can be difficult to understand if you weren’t raised in a family that maintained a synagogue membership. Without knowledge of the variety of mechanisms that all religious institutions use to sustain themselves financially, some charge that synagogues require you to “pay to pray.” What follows is one way that you might explain synagogue […]

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The New Synagogue Math: When We Hope That 1 Plus 1 is More Than 1 But Less Than 2



by Rabbi David Fine Changing demographics, declining religious school enrollment, troubled finances-a sure formula for frustration (to say the least). It could also be the prompt for thinking anew about the way we do business. This may not only be happening in our congregation, but also in our neighboring Jewish congregation. There will be those […]

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