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Jewish Women Innovators: The Next Generation



by Sam Kazer This week, the WRJ Blog features a series of articles about the newest URJ Camp: URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, and WRJ’s efforts to increase the presence of girls at the camp and, by extension, support women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Our girls’ dorm, Rosie, is named after Rosalind Franklin, a […]

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Back to the Future: An Update on “Unplugging” at Camp



Walk into any cabin at GFC and it’s a scene from Back to Future: campers have taken to the games like fish in water. There is laughter, healthy competition, camaraderie and good old fashioned fun.

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What Makes for Great Prayer?



by Rabbi Dan Medwin Last week, I was given a wonderfully challenging task as the CCAR rabbinic staff member at the NFTY Convention:  Take fifty participants from the Youth Engagement Conference and a two-hour prayer lab session, and plan multiple services for about 900 NFTY Convention participants.  While seemingly impossible, I jumped at the opportunity.   […]

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Where Prayer is Spine-Tinglingly, Bone-Shakingly Inspiring



At home, we sometimes used to struggle to feed balanced meals to our three teenagers. Imagine trying to feed 1,000 as these Jewish teens sat together to for Shabbat dinner. And that was only the beginning. We are gathered at a hotel in Los Angeles for the NFTY Convention, perhaps the largest Jewish teen gathering […]

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A Blizzard Shabbat in the Eye of the Storm



by Rabbi Jeffrey Brown Our temple, in the southern Westchester County suburbs of New York City, first began addressing the implications of the forecasted blizzard (Winter Storm Nemo) during the day on Thursday, February 7th. Our weekend schedule was to have included 8pm Erev Shabbat services on Friday night, a Shabbat morning service and b’naei […]

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Temple Sinai of Glendale Goes Solar



by Maggie Freed Climate change is the greatest challenge our earth faces—and the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to turn it around. Scientists agree that we are causing extreme weather by our greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from burning coal. If we don’t get serious about it, island nations will disappear, coastal […]

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Making the New Holy



by Rabbi Gary Glickstein Rav A.I. Kook, the former Chief Rabbi of Palestine, often remarked that our role as Jews is to fulfill the vision that “The old shall be renewed, and the new shall be made holy.” (Letters vol. I, p. 214) Last month The New York Times reported on a high-tech High Holiday […]

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Using Technology to Advance Social Action



by Leonard Slutsky In the story of Exodus, Moses advocated for freedom for the Israelites from Egypt. As a shepherd, his repertoire was limited to his staff and the Lord’s word. Not only was his trek treacherous, hiking through miles of desert, the first nine plagues failed to free the Jews. However, when the Israelites worked […]

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Introducing the Social Media Policy Workbook for Jewish Organizations



In just a few years, the use of social media has gone from being the exclusive domain of a few innovative organizations to a required aspect of any organization’s communication plan. One of the greatest challenges, and what has kept many synagogues from greater engagement with social media, has been the lack of guidelines. With […]

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Weaving Social Media into the High Holy Day Services



When the Jewish High Holy Days arrive, is it necessarily more appropriate to log out of our social media apps, or can social media enhance the spiritual experience of these traditional days? Must Twitter, Facebook, and texting just pull us back into our own private (even narcissistic) world, or can they provide individual connections to a […]

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Jewish Education & Technology: New Models Abound



by Deborah Niederman I am grateful for the way that Dr. Charles Edelsberg frames his piece on education in the Reform Movement. Too often, what is written about Jewish education is merely a critique and sometimes an outright attack. We often read that Jewish education, especially complementary education through our congregations, is in crisis. But […]

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A Facebook Shabbat



Earlier today, this article, “Facebook and Religion Don’t Mix,” crossed my desk, telling me that “Americans seem to not mix their social networking and religious activities.” In spite of what it says, much of my own personal Facebook use focuses on the joys of being Jewish— something many of my Facebook friends and I share […]

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In Which my Kids Teach Me About Tefilah



So What Is Prayer? It doesn’t have to be services or words, though it can be both. It can be a feeling that God is present. It doesn’t have to include asking for anything. It can be just awe or wonder, or a wave of affection breaking over you. It can be like plugging into […]

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Davening in the 21st Century with iT’filah



by Rabbi Dan Medwin Prayer can be challenging.  But fortunately, we have some great tools as Jews to help us reach those moments of prayerfulness and connection to God.  We have our liturgy, passed down and refined over generations, with themes that speak to our human experiences.  In more recent history, thanks to a man […]

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