Category: Lifecycle RSS feed for this section

Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

Read more

Knowing When it’s Time: A Response to Rabbi Rosalind Gold



La-kol z’man; v’eit l’khol khefetz takhat ha-shamayim…eit s’fod v’eit r’kod… (To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…a time to mourn and a time to dance…) These words from Ecclesiastes 3, so familiar and widely affirmed to us in liturgy and in song, are nonetheless ignored in the common […]

Read more

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



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. [Editor's Note: Rabbi David's congregation, Adath Emanu-El, is participating in the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Active Learning Network. This article originally appeared in the synagogue's […]

Read more

I Fell in Love at the URJ Biennial



by Adena Kemper My fiance Sean and I are getting married on December 8th. When our family and friends ask us where we are going for our honeymoon, we laugh and say, “To the URJ Biennial in San Diego of course!” We didn’t intentionally set our wedding date only days before the convention where we […]

Read more

“Reinventing The Bar Mitzvah” on HuffPost Live



On the heels of last week’s New York Times article on the Reform Movement’s efforts to revamp and reinvigorate b’nai mitzvah, HuffPost Live recently ran a great segment on the same topic, featuring the URJ’s own Rabbi Bradley Solmsen on a panel of guests. As Director of Youth Engagement, Rabbi Solmsen heads the Reform Movement’s […]

Read more

The New Bar Mitzvah: Read All About It!



Just before Rosh HaShanah, the New York Times ran a story titled “Bar Mitzvahs Get New Look to Build Faith.” The piece introduces readers to the Reform Movement’s new B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, an initiative to reinvent the bar and bat mitzvah that began with 13 pilot congregations. The American bar mitzvah, facing derision for Las […]

Read more

A New Twist on Havdallah



by Rabbi Roger Lerner Havdallah is one of those ceremonies that I have found enriching, fun, and in little need of change. It’s a quick ceremony marking the end of Shabbat, with all of the hallmarks and symbols of a ritual embodying a full sensory experience, allowing the sacredness of Shabbat to flow into the regular week. […]

Read more

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! “Congregation Needs To Be Involved in Israel To Make a Difference,” The Jewish Daily Forward Rabbi Andy Bachman, the […]

Read more

Observations from a Bar Mitzvah Family Meeting in Columbus



by Rabbi Misha Zinkow It was evident to me when I sat down with the Greens that Isaac was not a happy camper. I’ve known him since he was about 4; he’s a great kid, an upbeat and cheerful child, and the son of communally-active and highly engaged parents. So an unhappy face on this […]

Read more

Hectic Times, in the Very Best Way



Despite the fact that summer, with its hopefully slower pace, is just around the corner, the last few weeks have been packed! At the end of April, I joined 117 congregational presidents who had gathered in Atlanta for the annual Scheidt Seminar, the URJ’s unique leadership training initiative specifically designed for current and incoming presidents. […]

Read more

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! “Modern-Day Rabbi Must Be CEO, Teacher, and Spiritual Leader at Once,” Forward Are rabbis the new CEOs? Anne Cohen […]

Read more

Things I Love About B’nai Mitzvah



by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat I love the excited buzz in the synagogue before Shabbat morning services when one of our kids is going to be called to the Torah as b’nai mitzvah. I love the eager, nervous energy I feel emanating from the family. The parents, caught between the mundane organizational details they were worrying […]

Read more

Special Prayer Services in Boston Tonight



As the entire country struggles at make sense of the acts of terror that took place yesterday in Boston, the Reform Movement sends our thoughts and prayers to all of those affected by the bombing. We pray for the victims of this senseless crime and for everyone’s safety and healing. Throughout the Boston area, Reform […]

Read more

Rabbi David Hartman’s Torah of Pluralism



Two thousand years ago, a rabbi recalled the breadth and depth of what his teacher had given him. Yohanan ben Zakkai remembered his teacher Hillel saying: If all the heavens were parchments and all the trees quills and all the seas were ink, it would still be impossible to write down even a part of […]

Read more