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Managing Change, the Only Constant in Today’s World



This is the time of year when many congregations prepare to welcome new rabbis and other senior staff members to the temple family. With this period of change comes many emotions – excitement, anxiety, curiosity, sadness at the departure of a long-time beloved rabbi or other staff member…

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5 Tips for Networking with Other Synagogue Leaders



by Luisa Narins Stranger danger! We have been taught to embrace this phrase since we were children, but how does it affect our relationships as adults? Strangers can be inherently dangerous, and it is difficult to open up and meet new people. I moved to the United States for college with no family around me. […]

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3 Ways to Build LGBTQ-Inclusive Communities



Already this month, we have celebrated inclusion in its many forms: making congregations accessible to those with disabilities, highlighting women’s stories in the Torah and Talmud, breaking the Jewish glass ceiling for women, and of course, celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month. Women of Reform Judaism was ahead of its time and the entire Reform Movement in […]

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5 Great Deals and Discounts Your Congregation Can Only Get Through the URJ



Calling all congregational leaders! Are you interested in ways to enhance the day-to-day operations of your sacred institutions, improve efficiencies, and reduce expenses? Through the Union for Reform Judaism’s Congregational Benefits and Services program, URJ member congregations have access to meaningful discounts on a number of products and services at discounted prices. These deals, available […]

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Op-ed: “Conventional Wisdom Has Shifted” Regarding Congregational Life



Amy Asin, vice president of strengthening congregations for the URJ, has an op-ed in eJewish Philanthropy aptly titled “Strengthening Congregations,” highlighting the many ways the URJ is helping its 900 congregations across North America grow and flourish. Asin writes, A lot of attention is paid these days to innovative start-ups in the Jewish world. And […]

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June 17: Join Us for a Live Online Q&A About High Holiday Hospitality



Early last month, the URJ hosted its very first “YamJam in The Tent,” a live, moderated Q&A session in the URJ’s online collaborative social media platform, The Tent. URJ moderators posed questions, and everyone in virtual attendance has the opportunity to respond to share information and expertise. Our first YamJam focused on the different ways […]

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18+ Ways to Make LGBT Members Feel Welcome in Your Congregation



June is here, and in honor of LGBT Pride Month, we’re sharing suggestions for welcoming LGBTQ members into your congregation and community. Do you have ideas to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below! Celebrate Gay Pride Month (June) with a special Shabbat service. Invite LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer) members […]

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Strategies for Success: Reviewing Membership Materials



by Janet Buckstein Most membership-based organizations, including congregations and temple sisterhoods, use a variety of methods to communicate with current and prospective members. These may include printed and online material, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and even phone calls, presentations, and personal meetings. However, the standard material typically includes brochures/pamphlets, letters, membership forms […]

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The Scheidt Seminar: Learning and Bonding With My Peers



by Jonathan Cheris After two years as executive vice president of Temple Sinai of Roslyn, I am about to become president of this sacred place that is my home away from home. Thanks to the work of the incredible leaders in whose footsteps I follow, our membership numbers are growing and our programs are thriving […]

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YamJam in The Tent: A Real-Time Resource for Synagogue Leaders



As summer looms, congregational leaders are thinking about how to welcome potential members into our synagogues. What do they see when they visit our websites? What do they hear when they call the temple office? Who do they meet when they walk through the lobby during their first visit? How can we give everyone who […]

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Communities of Practice: Learning, Change, and Other Benefits that Strengthen Congregations



by Amy Asin and Rabbi Esther L. Lederman On May 5th, the URJ will launch applications for a new set of Communities of Practice (CoPs). Topics will include: Building a Brand: Excellence in Reform Movement Early Childhood Engagement Creating Connected Communities for Families with Young Children (for congregations without Early Childhood Centers) Strengthening Israel Engagement […]

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The Scheidt Seminar: Shaping Leaders for a Sacred Task



“The Scheidt Seminar for Congregational Presidents and President-Elects seminar was one of the most meaningful professional development experiences of my entire career….Not only was this an inspiring leadership development experience, but it was a meaningful Jewish experience as well. By praying and studying together, my fellow presidents and presidents-elect formed a connection that links us […]

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This Month in The Tent: Being a More Welcoming Congregation



Membership specialists and committee chairs will tell you the three tenets of congregational membership are recruitment, integration/engagement, and retention. In all three areas, one key to success is making people feel like your congregation is a place for them – in other words, being welcoming. What, specifically, can you and your fellow leaders do to […]

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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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