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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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URJ Camp Offers Incentive Program for Jewish Military Families



The URJ is proud to announce an innovative Camper Incentive Program for Jewish Military Families on Active Duty, open to Jewish families with at least one parent on Active Duty in the United States Armed Forces. The program will be offered at the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, MS, which has served more […]

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Apply for Taste of Judaism™ Advertising Grants!



The URJ is now accepting applications for 2014-2015 Taste of Judaism™ Advertising Grants. Since 1994, A Taste of Judaism: Are You Curious?™ has engaged nearly 100,000 individuals searching for an easy access point to liberal Jewish life. Classes are advertised as “open to all, Jewish or not.” We want you to consider making Taste™ a […]

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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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URJ Awards Grants to Fund Taste of Judaism™ Classes



The Union for Reform Judaism has awarded grants to congregations in 17 cities to offer Taste of Judaism ™, a free, three-session class for beginners – Jewish or not – that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values. A Taste of Judaism™ is a high-visibility, low-threshold program of liberal Jewish content designed […]

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Camp Chazak, Where Miracles Are All Around Us



by Stephen Weitzman Traditionally, the month of Elul is a period of self reflection for Jews who attempt to get closer to God. The tradition dates back to the time when Moses ascended Mt. Sinai for the second time after breaking the tablets because he believed the Israelites had violated their sacred relationship with God […]

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How to Get Jews to Synagogue? Go to Church.



by Rachel Loftspring My best friend is a devout Christian; I am a secular Jew. She says grace before every meal; I occasionally raise a glass in l’chaim (more often, though, a simple cheers). She goes to church or watches it online nearly every Sunday; I haven’t been to synagogue in ages. On a recent […]

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Seven Things to Do When Teens Come Home from Jewish Summer Camp



by Ruth Schapira Soon, thousands of Jewish teens will arrive to their home communities, having spent an amazing immersive experience in a Jewish summer camp. These teens, armed with new enthusiasm for Jewish life, should be able to transition successfully into their Jewish life at home, sharing their experiences with peers, their families, the synagogue, and maybe even […]

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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 webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know! “Reform and Conservative Camping Movements’ will Engage Synagogue Youth Year Round,” eJewish Philanthropy This week, the camping movements of […]

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The Ice Cream Cone Approach to Youth Engagement



Recently, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of stories and photos of campers and counselors getting ready for their return to camp, their trip to Israel or their adventure with a service-learning program. I am so happy for all them. They are following a path that we, in the professional Jewish world, have […]

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What’s New with the Campaign for Youth Engagement?



I just returned from two weeks in Israel focusing on the intersection of Israel and youth engagement… and eating lots of delicious hummus! A dynamic connection to Israel is a critical strategy in all our youth engagement work. One of the key Israel intersections occurs at the URJ camps. URJ camps host more than 200 […]

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We’re Offering Grants for Congregations to Host Taste of Judaism™ Classes



Is your congregation interested in offering classes on “Judaism 101″? The Union for Reform Judaism is offering grants to help congregations offer Taste of Judaism™, a free, three-session class for beginners – Jewish or not – that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values. Taste of Judaism™ is a high-visibility, low-threshold program […]

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Turn Meaningful Reflection into Positive Action: A Look Back at Jewish Disability Awareness Month



It’s May. Can you believe it? Every year it seems to sneak up on me. But here it is. Most synagogues and Jewish professionals are at the point in the year that I typically call the “race to the finish line.” We are busy completing our program years, winding down religious schools and looking toward […]

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Time to Replace Programmatic Model of Jewish Affiliation



by Ron Wolfson It’s that time of year, when Jewish institutions pull out their 2013-14 calendars and fill them with events. Many of the programs are very good, with clever names and slick marketing: Jews and Brews for young Federation leadership; L’mazeltov for expectant parents; Torah and Tacos for synagogue members who favor a certain […]

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