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Make Miracles Happen This Hanukkah by Helping Ethan Kadish



On June 29, at Goldman Union Camp Institute, a URJ summer camp near Indianapolis, Ethan Kadish was teaching a group of younger children how to play ultimate Frisbee when a bolt of lightning struck him to the ground. Today, Ethan is in the Rehabilitation Unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital preparing for his upcoming discharge to […]

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Sometimes Inclusion Makes Me Nervous



On Yom Kippur morning, an amazing young woman came to our bimah to chant Torah.  She happens to be blind. And while I eagerly anticipated what I knew would be a stunning aliyah, I found myself really nervous. Why would I be nervous?  This should have been a moment of immense pride that the inclusive […]

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What the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Is (and Is Not)



Last month – on the front page of the New York Times, no less – there was a lengthy article on the state of b’nai mitzvah ceremonies in the United States. This coverage came just days after the latest example of an over-the-top celebration outside Las Vegas, which featured an ostentatious display of dancers, lighting, and more. Perhaps you saw the video on YouTube. The newspaper article questioned – as we all do, I believe – how this rite of passage can become as meaningful and as moving as our ancestors intended. The article proceeds to highlight and applaud what is being termed the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, a program run by the Union for Reform Judaism, which aims to inject thought and scrutiny into the broader process of becoming b’nai mitzvah.

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Let’s Talk Turkey: Thanksgiving Ideas for Congregational Boards



Thanksgiving is next month (or this month for our Canadian friends) and while it is not a Jewish holiday, you and your board can still use the essence of the holiday – giving thanks – as an impetus for recognizing the dedication of folks within your congregational community. Many congregations rely on the hard work […]

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How a Whole Congregation Wrote its Rabbi’s Yom Kippur Sermon



Utilizing a process called the Social Sermon, I developed my Yom Kippur morning sermon this year in partnership with Facebook Friends, TED ,and a group of insightful congregants. To be blunt, this year, the whole Congregation Or Ami wrote its rabbi’s Yom Kippur sermon. Where Great Sermon Ideas Come From Rabbis explore sermon ideas from […]

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Tishah B’Av 5773 in Retrospect: Reflections from a Neo-Classical Reform Jew



by Jordan Friedman This year, I did something I’ve never really done before in my entire life. I observed  Tishah B’Av. I went to the home of a very dear friend who is used to marking the solemn day in semi-traditional fashion: by fasting and contemplating all historic tragedies that have befallen the Jews and, […]

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Debatable: Should We Offer Free High Holy Days Tickets to Non-Members?



by Steve Friedman and Maxine Sukenik One congregational leader says yes; another says no. Each shares their perspective on this age-old congregational debate. What do you think? What does your congregation do? Read Steve and Maxine’s views, below, and chime in with your own. “YES! No Tickets = No Barriers” by Steve Friedman, past president […]

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Congregational Resources for the High Holy Days



Can it already be the second week of July? Unbelievable as it may seem, this week means something big for congregations: The High Holy Days are less than two months away! With Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur quickly approaching, many congregations are already busy preparing. The URJ has a number of resources to help your […]

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Spring Time in Israel



by Loui Dobin As I am writing these words, I am on a plane home from Israel. We took off a couple of hours ago and have just crossed the coast of France. Now that we are “feet-wet” over the North Atlantic, I have had a little time to think about my trip. I landed on the eve […]

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The New Reform Machzor and the Shofar Service



By Rabbi Edwin Goldberg Part One: Don’t “Bury the Lead,” or Why We Have Placed the Shofar Service into Three Parts of the Service The traditional High Holy Day prayer book, as opposed to the Reform versions produced in the last century and more, includes a service, musaf, that evokes the ancient sacrifices.  Reform Judaism abandoned […]

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The Other Camp that Started in Kunkletown, PA



by Beth Kanofsky Shalom from Israel! I have the pleasure of traveling to Israel to be part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shlichim Training Seminar this year (and I’ll share an update from that soon). I traveled to Israel two days prior to the start of the training to be here for Yom HaZikaron, […]

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The Shofar Service: Malchiyot, Zichronot, Shofarot



By Rabbi Richard Sarason The blowing of the shofar is surely one of the high points of the Rosh Hashanah morning service. But the “Shofar Service” as the discrete entity we know today is actually a creation of Reform liturgists. Located at the end of the Torah service, before the Torah is returned to the ark, and […]

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Israel Pauses to Remember its Fallen



Sirens were sounded throughout Israel at 8 PM on Sunday night and 11 AM this morning in Israel, in memory of the more than 25,000 fallen Israeli soldiers and terror victims. As the Jewish state ushered in Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, the nation, and indeed the Jewish world, paused to reflect on the cost […]

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Israel Turns 65: Special Yom Ha’atzmaut Live Broadcast



Celebrate Israel’s birthday with the Reform Movement! You’re invited to join friends from across the world for a special celebration of Israel’s 65th Birthday, broadcast live from Kehillat Yozma in Modi’in, Israel. On Monday, April 15th, ARZA and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism will host a special online “Havdalah” ceremony to mark the conclusion […]

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