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Annual Meetings: Taking Stock of Where We Are



by Rabbi Laurence Elis Milder, Ph.D. Congregations need times for self-reflection. No congregation should coast, go on auto-pilot, or think of its mission as the doing of business-as-usual. At least once a year, we need to take stock. What have we accomplished? What are the challenges we face? What are the possibilities? Perhaps most important […]

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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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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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2013 URJ Biennial

Are You Ready for Biennial Shabbat?



From Friday night song session to diverse, creative options for worship and learning, Shabbat at the URJ Biennial will feature something for everyone. Friday Night Shabbat Services First bring a little bit of the Tel Aviv pier to San Diego and prepare for Shabbat with the innovative leaders of Beit Tefilah Israeli, who bring Kabbalat […]

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Welcome to the Tent!



For some time now, you may have been hearing about The Tent, our new online communication and collaboration platform for the leadership of the Reform movement. We are pleased to announce that during the next few weeks, you will be invited to join the community of Reform Leaders actively using the Tent online collaboration software […]

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Biennial: The Antidote to Pew Study Anxiety



Soon after I finished reading the Pew Research’s Religion and Public Life Project study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” the first thing I did was to register for the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial Convention in San Diego. Getting together with 5,000+ committed Jews ranks high on my short list of responses to the more […]

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Why Do People Volunteer at the Synagogue?



by Neil Platt Earlier this year, my synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Woodlands, endeavored to build a new Havdalah area with a wooded trail and outdoor teaching area. Happily, we completed the work in time to consecrate the area during this year’s Yom Kippur Havdalah service. Nearly 200 people withstood the Texas summer heat […]

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October 1st Healthcare Deadline for Congregations



An important message for all congregational presidents, administrator, rabbis, and executive directors: With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, all URJ member congregations who employ staff, either on a part- or full-time basis, are required to fulfill a variety of requirements to ensure compliance with the law. These requirements are dependent on whether a […]

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Flood damage at Congregation Har Hashem in Boulder, CO

A Reform Congregation Emerges from the Flood



by Rabbi Joshua Rose On Rosh HaShanah we celebrated Creation, and by Yom Kippur we had been hit by the flood. The deluge began Thursday afternoon. I posted pictures to Twitter and Facebook, amused by the enormous puddles everywhere. Two hours later, it was clear that this was no joke. The four lane road in […]

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You Say You Want a (B’nai Mitzvah) Revolution?



We are hearing regularly from congregations who know that bar and bat mitzvah have tremendous potential and are thinking about challenging the assumptions of traditional b’nai mitzvah in search of more meaningful and transformative experiences and to help reduce the staggering rates of post-b’nai mitzvah dropout. The B’nai Mitzvah Revolution was launched a year ago […]

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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 web that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know! “Why Millennials are Leaving the Church,” CNN’s Belief Blog Christian author Rachel Held Evans writes of young Christians like […]

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Appointing a NFTY Leader to the URJ Board



As Shabbat services ended at the URJ Board Meeting the URJ Board had a new nominee, a 19-year old determined, committed Jewish leader – Evan Traylor. At the public announcement of his nomination, the URJ Board burst into applause. In one day, the Reform Movement truly moved; in a dynamic way. No longer is the youth voice in Reform Judaism symbolic.

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A Message from Rabbi Rick Jacobs



For many, summer is a season of travel and that’s certainly true for me right now. Last week I was in Chicago, where I had the pleasure of meeting with a number of my rabbinic colleagues, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders in congregations throughout the city. This past week I was in Baltimore, where similar […]

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The Journey is the Destination



by Marilyn Price Last week, Thursday through Shabbat, I had the privilege of attending my first URJ North American Board meeting in Brooklyn, N.Y. That set of meetings was bookended with three days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut and New York (“strolling” would be a better term, though no one calls it a “stroll […]

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