Posts Tagged: congregational life

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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Knowing When it’s Time: A Response to Rabbi Rosalind Gold



La-kol z’man; v’eit l’khol khefetz takhat ha-shamayim…eit s’fod v’eit r’kod… (To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…a time to mourn and a time to dance…) These words from Ecclesiastes 3, so familiar and widely affirmed to us in liturgy and in song, are nonetheless ignored in the common […]

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What the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Is (and Is Not)



The Journal of Youth Engagement is an online forum of ideas and dialogue for those committed to engaging youth in vibrant Jewish life and living. Join the discussion and become a contributor. [Editor's Note: Rabbi David's congregation, Adath Emanu-El, is participating in the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution Active Learning Network. This article originally appeared in the synagogue's […]

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The Biennial as Change Agent for Your Congregation



by Julie Schwartz How can Reform congregations turn an invigorating URJ Biennial experience into lasting change? Here are a few tips from congregations big and small that have turned a trip to the Biennial into meaningful growth experiences: Attend with a goal in mind, but be open to new ideas. Prior to attending the URJ […]

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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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Let’s Talk Turkey: Thanksgiving Ideas for Congregational Boards



Thanksgiving is next month (or this month for our Canadian friends) and while it is not a Jewish holiday, you and your board can still use the essence of the holiday – giving thanks – as an impetus for recognizing the dedication of folks within your congregational community. Many congregations rely on the hard work […]

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October 1st Healthcare Deadline for Congregations



An important message for all congregational presidents, administrator, rabbis, and executive directors: With the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, all URJ member congregations who employ staff, either on a part- or full-time basis, are required to fulfill a variety of requirements to ensure compliance with the law. These requirements are dependent on whether a […]

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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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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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Rabbi Rick Jacobs Travels to the Deep South



Summers in New York City are blisteringly hot. To escape, some people head to the Jersey Shore or to other beaches to cool off; others head to the mountains to get away from the humidity. Me? This July, I headed to the Deep South – Tennessee and Mississippi, to be exact – and although I […]

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When We Can’t Make Inclusion Work



Sometimes you just can’t make it work. Thirteen years ago Temple Beth-El in Somerset County, New Jersey, recognized the need for a special education expert in the religious school and hired me to help build and run a program to meet the needs of children who were not experiencing success in traditional classes. We have […]

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Jewish Books and Libraries: A Match Made in Heaven



by Ellen Tilman I am in Jewish book heaven. I’ve been dreaming about what new books I will purchase for my congregational library ever since attending the annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL). Why do I attend this conference and what do I gain from it? At the Meyers Library of Reform […]

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Debatable: Should We Offer Free High Holy Days Tickets to Non-Members?



by Steve Friedman and Maxine Sukenik One congregational leader says yes; another says no. Each shares their perspective on this age-old congregational debate. What do you think? What does your congregation do? Read Steve and Maxine’s views, below, and chime in with your own. “YES! No Tickets = No Barriers” by Steve Friedman, past president […]

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Congregational Resources for the High Holy Days



Can it already be the second week of July? Unbelievable as it may seem, this week means something big for congregations: The High Holy Days are less than two months away! With Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur quickly approaching, many congregations are already busy preparing. The URJ has a number of resources to help your […]

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