Category: Worship & Spirituality RSS feed for this section

10 Ways to Welcome Teens at the High Holidays



Looking for innovative opportunities to engage your teens around the High Holidays? These 10 ideas come directly from the source – youth professionals across North America.

Read more

This Month in The Tent: No Summer Slowdown Here!



Much of the world slows down during the summer, and even synagogues aren’t the hustling, bustling places they typically are during the rest of the year. Nonetheless, conversations continue unabated in The Tent, the URJ’s online communication and collaboration forum. Many of the current discussions focus on planning for 5776, with these conversations proving especially […]

Read more

The 7 Vital Signs of a Healthy Congregation



by Ron Wolfson As one who has worked in the field of synagogue transformation for more than 20 years, I am often asked, “What are the vital signs of a healthy congregation?” Here are seven vital signs I look for in taking the pulse of a community:

Read more

Seeing is Believing: Visual T’filot and the Future of Jewish Worship



Rabbi Lance Sussman, the senior rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA,  wrote a piece published today in eJewish Philanthropy titled “Seeing is Believing: Visual T’filot and the Future of Jewish Worship.” He begins, Three years ago, my synagogue agreed to install large retractable screens on either side of the Ark and […]

Read more
Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Reform Jewish Leaders: Strong, Creative, and Inspiring Agents of Change



I have been fortunate to spend time in recent weeks with an array of Reform leaders, including nearly 100 congregational presidents at our annual Schiedt Seminar and many of the newest and soon-to-be HUC ordinees and graduates – clergy, educators, and Jewish professionals who are eager and exceedingly well qualified to help reshape the Reform […]

Read more

Had’rachah: Inspiring Congregants to Lead



by Ken Hahn Last summer, I spent five days at Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), one of the URJ’s 15 summer camps across North America that runs programs for Jewish youth from elementary school through high school. But I’m not a camper, nor am I a camp parent – so why was I there? […]

Read more

Why My Congregation Hosts “A Taste of Judaism®” Classes – and Yours Should, Too



by Rabbi Marc Katz Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of hosting A Taste of Judaism® classes at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, N.Y. The first time was at a local restaurant; the second was in the synagogue building. Over the course of teaching this class, I have learned a number […]

Read more

This Month in The Tent: Useful Mission Statements



A congregation’s mission statement is often one of its founding documents, setting forth a vision for the congregation and serving as a guiding document as leaders manage the sacred. Yet a lot can happen in 15, 50, or even 100 years, and so congregational leaders may wish to periodically revisit the synagogue’s mission statement as […]

Read more

Don’t Forget: February is “Strengthening Congregations Webinar Month”!



As you may know, February is “Strengthening Congregations Webinar Month” here at the URJ. At the halfway point, more than 300 congregational leaders have joined live webinars to learn more about what makes a congregation strong and how the URJ is evolving to help you become or continue to be a strong congregation. The feedback […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

The Mi Shebeirach Quilt



by Shelley Schweitzer May the Source of strength, Who blessed the ones before us, Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, And let us say: Amen. The year was 1999 and the NFTY-Northeast Lakes (NFTY-NEL) community learned that there were big changes ahead. Long-time regional advisors Terry Pollack and Neil Poch […]

Read more

Chaveirai n’vareich – Let’s Praise Birkon Mikdash M’at: NFTY’s Bencher



By Jeremy Gimbel That is how a leader begins the Birkat HaMazon, the blessing recited after a meal. When I think about the process that led to the publication of Birkon Mikdash M’at: NFTY’s Bencher, this proclamation resonates like the beautiful walls of sound created by NFTYites and campers as they sing this blessing.

Read more

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 […]

Read more

A New Sound for a New Generation: NFTY’s Music in the 2000s



by Caryn Roman There was a time when the term “Jewish Rock” might have been considered an oxymoron. In my own NFTY and camp days in the mid-to-late 90s, most of the music in services and song sessions reflected the Movement’s folk roots and didn’t sound much like what we listened to on the radio […]

Read more