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NFTY Takes on Malaria



By Olivia Kessler Did you know malaria is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito carrying the Plasmodium parasite and kills 600,000 people every year? Did you know malaria exists in 109 countries around the world, making half of the world’s population susceptible to the disease? Did you know that every 60 seconds a child […]

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URJ President to Spend Night at Homeless Shelter He Founded 30 Years Ago



In 1983, when Rabbi Rick Jacobs was the rabbi at Brooklyn Heights Synagogue (BHS), he had a vision to start a shelter to address the growing problem of homelessness in New York City. Thirty years later, the first synagogue-based homeless shelter in New York City is still responding to the need, run by volunteers from […]

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Reform Movement Allocates $125k for Typhoon Haiyan Relief Efforts



On November 7-8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, made landfall in the Philippines. The storm came on the heels of an October earthquake that had affected more than 3 million people and disrupted life for more than 14 million Filipinos (nearly 15% of the total population). According to UNICEF, nearly […]

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2013 URJ Biennial

Fostering Inclusion and Accessibility at the 2013 Biennial



Anyone who has attended a URJ Biennial knows that the experience touches your soul, lifts your spirits, increases your Judaic knowledge, and improves your singing ability. Now, the 2013 Biennial will also help congregations and individuals understand how to include those with disabilities as welcome and appreciated full members of your community. This Biennial will […]

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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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Typhoon Haiyan Calls for Action on Climate Change



When faced with catastrophe and war, we are quick to recall Leviticus 19: “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor bleeds.” This Jewish teaching led us to rally for stronger laws to prevent gun violence after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school and called us to demand justice after the Boston Marathon bombing. […]

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For the Sake of our Soul



By Rabbi Joshua Wienberg “A new light will shine upon Zion and we shall all benefit quickly from its light.” (morning liturgy) In 1897, Theodor Herzl established the first Zionist Congress, which assembled European Zionists to formally work together towards the establishment of a Jewish State. Some 24 years later, following a decision reached at the […]

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WRJ and LGBT Rights: A Brief History



by Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell From its founding in 1913, The National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods has served as a powerful and effective vehicle for Reform Jewish women to share their commitment to and advocacy for increasing justice in the world. As such, the women of our movement have been long-standing advocates for the rights of […]

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Help the URJ Help Victims of Typhoon Haiyan



In the early morning hours of November 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. The equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the region’s Pacific Islands. Initial accounts indicate that as many as 10,000 lives have been lost, and authorities […]

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Why Do People Volunteer at the Synagogue?



by Neil Platt Earlier this year, my synagogue, Congregation Beth Shalom of the Woodlands, endeavored to build a new Havdalah area with a wooded trail and outdoor teaching area. Happily, we completed the work in time to consecrate the area during this year’s Yom Kippur Havdalah service. Nearly 200 people withstood the Texas summer heat […]

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Reform Movement Condemns Government Shutdown



In response to the failure of Congress to pass a funding bill, resulting in a government shutdown, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement today: On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.3 million Reform Jews, and the […]

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Help Colorado Flood Victims



The URJ is working closely with our Colorado congregations to assess damage to their buildings and within their communities. We are aware of damage to one synagogue and are working with local leadership to facilitate necessary repairs and a replacement of religious school text books. Individuals interested in donating directly to Colorado flood victims are […]

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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 […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs to Speak at 50th Anniversary March on Washington



Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, will represent the Reform Movement at the 50th Anniversary March on Washington on August 24, 2013 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The program will feature an interfaith ecumenical prayer service with national clergy and live musical performances. Rabbi Jacobs said, I am honored […]

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