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18+ Ways to Make LGBT Members Feel Welcome in Your Congregation



June is here, and in honor of LGBT Pride Month, we’re sharing suggestions for welcoming LGBTQ members into your congregation and community. Do you have ideas to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below! Celebrate Gay Pride Month (June) with a special Shabbat service. Invite LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning/Queer) members […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Shavuot: Celebration and Obligation



In just a few days, we will conclude this year’s counting of the Omer with the celebration of Shavuot, the first of our tradition’s three annual pilgrimage festivals, and the one that has come to be associated with the giving of Torah atop Mt.Sinai, as well as with confirmation and post b’nai mitzvah study. The […]

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June 3 is Worldwide Unity Day: Promoting the Jewish People as One



In the summer of 2014, three Israeli teens – Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel – were kidnapped by terrorists on their way home from school. Jews from around the world came together to search, pray, and offer support. The building sense of Jewish unity while the boys were held captive reached its peak […]

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Where to Donate to Nepalese Earthquake Relief Efforts



Following a deadly 7.9-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, April 25, 2015 – the worst to hit that Nepal since 1934 – thousands of people in Nepal and in neighboring India are in need of immediate help. The United Nations predicts that tens of thousands are likely dead or injured and that up to one million people […]

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An Open Letter to President Obama About the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide



Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), sent a letter to President Obama about the upcoming commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, invoking the timeless words “Never forget. Never again.” The full text of the letter follows. President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, […]

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Green Eggs and Hamantaschen: Creative Purim Gift Bags Bring a Community Together



by Betsy Zalaznick Purim at Or Chadash, in Flemington, N.J., includes many of the usual traditions: putting on a Purim spiel (play), using boxes of pasta as gragers, baking hamantaschen with our students, reading the Megillah, and hosting a spectacular carnival that features Esther’s Salon, Mordecai’s March Madness, a photo booth, and plenty of prizes […]

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On 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the RAC Talks Civil Rights



As the newly appointed director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, I am inspired by the storied history of our role in the critical social justice battles of our time. In fact, the RAC was founded at the height of the Civil Rights Movement to provide an outlet for Reform Jews to express […]

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Striving for a Self-Determined Quality of Jewish Life for Jews with Disabilities



by Shelly Christensen “There comes a moment when you realize that what you’re advocating for is more than just accommodations. You’re really advocating for someone’s quality of life. That’s the moment you realize you won’t give up.” (Dyslexia Training Institute) Sometimes Facebook produces surprises, like this quote I recently found while scrolling mindlessly through my […]

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10 Ways to Celebrate Jewish Disability Awareness Month in Your Synagogue



With the start of February, so too begins Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Of course, there is nothing uniquely Jewish about disabilities, nor is there a greater need for inclusion in February than in any other month. So why observe Jewish Disability Awareness Month 2015 this February? We encourage Reform congregations to observe and participate in […]

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Building a New Model of Political Leadership: How Rabbi Stephanie Kolin Changed Our Community



by Steven Windmueller With the announcement this week of the appointment of Rabbi Stephanie Kolin to the position of Associate Rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York City, the progressive Jewish community has the opportunity to celebrate the evolution of Just Congregations, including its creation of Reform California, and the defining role played by its […]

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner to Lead Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism



Rabbi Jonah Pesner will serve as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), the Washington, D.C. advocacy and social justice arm of North America’s largest Jewish Movement. Rabbi Pesner, an accomplished advocate with broad experience leading social justice campaigns, comes to the RAC with a mandate to deepen its advocacy work […]

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If Not Now, When? NFTY’s Role in Freeing Soviet Jews



by Rachel Mersky Woda Growing up in a Reform Jewish household meant that you learned at an early age the value of tikkun olam, repairing the world. In our home, we were surrounded by opportunities for activism, and the one that occupied us for years was the plight of the Jews in  Russia. In the […]

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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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The Power, Growth, and Continued Success of Mitzvah Corps



“Dad, this is amazing,” my daughter exclaimed on a phone call home from Mitzvah Corps Nicaragua this summer. “There are so many kids on my program who have never heard of NFTY before!” You may think this comment would’ve been discouraging to me: What are we doing wrong that these kids have never heard of […]

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