Category: Governance & Leadership RSS feed for this section

Sacred Partnership: Achieving the Right Balance in Your Congregation



Mazel tov! You’ve just been elected to your first term as a trustee on the temple board. Together with your fellow congregational lay leaders, you struggle with the challenges surrounding member engagement, finances, and sustainable growth. More often than not, a part of each board meeting centers around discussing various creative ideas that you hope […]

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Building a Robust, Reform Shabbat Community



by Harry Frischer Imagine a room filled to capacity each Shabbat with worshippers who derive deep satisfaction from regular communal worship. Imagine the ruach (spirit) of many voices lifted together each week in energetic, musical, participatory prayer. Imagine a community whose members enjoy rich, rewarding spiritual lives, nourished by regular prayer, ritual, and learning. Imagine […]

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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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Introducing the URJ’s 2020 Vision: A Clear View of Our Future



When Rabbi Rick Jacobs assumed the presidency of the Union for Reform Judaism two years ago, the URJ committed to develop more coherent and aligned services that not only would significantly strengthen Reform congregations and the pressing issues they face, but also would advance the mission and ideals of Reform Judaism. To understand the needs […]

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Twenty Becomes One: Seeing Our Congregations as Family, Especially During Hardship



In the fall of 2008, I was the executive director of a 1,000-household synagogue. We had recently finished a major sanctuary renovation, and our membership numbers were on an encouraging upward trend. Our finances were sound, and we had big plans for the year ahead. The new president of our board was writing her first […]

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The Tent: Helping Jewish Leaders Look Through New Prisms



Leading a congregation can be a daunting task. Whether you lead your congregation as clergy, professional staff, or lay leadership, we all do our sacred work through different prisms. We work through the prism of spirituality. The Torah and other teachings of our ancestors guide our communities with holiness and wisdom. We work through the […]

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The Days of Awe, Community, and “Relational Judaism”



Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, a distinguished Hasid, told a parable about the Days of Awe of a man who is lost in the woods. Just when he is losing hope, he runs into another person and is filed with joy, exclaiming “Brother, tell me which is the right way. I have been wandering for days.” His […]

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Achieving Excellence by Pursuing Excellence in our Early Childhood Center



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Dr. Paula Sayag As an early childhood consultant with Washington, D.C.’s central Jewish education agency, […]

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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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