Posts Tagged: family

Hanukkah’s Lessons Apply to our Work with Jewish Youth



As we approach the eighth night of Hanukkah, I know I’m not alone when I say I’ve almost reached my fill of latkes! Still, I can never get my fill of family and community gatherings that are bursting with joy, spirituality, and a sense of awe for the enduring, illuminating light of the menorah. Of […]

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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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Achieving Excellence by Pursuing Excellence in our Early Childhood Center



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Dr. Paula Sayag As an early childhood consultant with Washington, D.C.’s central Jewish education agency, […]

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The Porch: It’s Southern, It’s Open, and It’s Jewish



For the past 18 months, the URJ supported three “Communities of Practice,” cohorts of congregations that came together to learn, discuss, and experiment in a specific field. Members from participating congregations have been asked to reflect about their process. by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas When I was ordained a cantor in 2011, I never imagined […]

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A Special Worship Service for Jews with Disabilities and Their Families



by Nancy Crown When I was called to meet with a member of my synagogue’s Congregation-Based Community Organizing Committee, I almost declined.  I was asked to think about what the temple could do that it was not already doing. My main reaction was to reflect on the many opportunities for learning, worship, and community that […]

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The Chadash Program – A New Path for Young Adults with Disabilities



And then we asked, “what’s next?” It seemed only right and necessary that Coleman would be part of the next stage in Gideon’s life journey. So, in partnership with Bobby Harris and the Coleman community that is our family home, the Chadash program has been born. “Chadash” means “new,” and this truly is a new opportunity, a new path – one that can help give young adults with disabilities tools and skills for life success.

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Just Say Yes: Inclusion is a No-Brainer



Past President Michael Kaplan likes to tell the story about why he joined his current congregation and ultimately became its president. He talks about one High Holy Days when he entered the sanctuary with his wife, their profoundly challenged son Brandon, and Brandon’s guide dog. Settling into the services, sitting in the front row, they […]

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Moving Our Community from a “Serve Us” to a “Service” Mentality



by Cantor Mary Rebecca Thomas I’ve had the privilege to learn from URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs on several occasions, the most recent of which was in January 2013 in Chicago. I was there, along with a lay partner, and representatives from a handful of other congregations to form the first cohort of the URJ’s […]

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Hey, Adults! It’s Time to Listen to Kids



by Emily Aronoff Teck I keep hearing grown-ups say things to kids that I doubt they really mean. “If you don’t behave, the rabbi might get mad and kick you out of services.” “People are here to pray, so you shouldn’t be making any noise.” “Temple is a place to show respect, which means you […]

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



Last month – on the front page of the New York Times, no less – there was a lengthy article on the state of b’nai mitzvah ceremonies in the United States. This coverage came just days after the latest example of an over-the-top celebration outside Las Vegas, which featured an ostentatious display of dancers, lighting, and more. Perhaps you saw the video on YouTube. The newspaper article questioned – as we all do, I believe – how this rite of passage can become as meaningful and as moving as our ancestors intended. The article proceeds to highlight and applaud what is being termed the B’nai Mitzvah Revolution, a program run by the Union for Reform Judaism, which aims to inject thought and scrutiny into the broader process of becoming b’nai mitzvah.

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“Reinventing The Bar Mitzvah” on HuffPost Live



On the heels of last week’s New York Times article on the Reform Movement’s efforts to revamp and reinvigorate b’nai mitzvah, HuffPost Live recently ran a great segment on the same topic, featuring the URJ’s own Rabbi Bradley Solmsen on a panel of guests. As Director of Youth Engagement, Rabbi Solmsen heads the Reform Movement’s […]

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Camp Harlam: Where Family Becomes Family



…siblings, cousins, parents and children – intentionally find one another, not just to say “Shabbat Shalom,” but to check in with each other, to really embrace each other, to talk to each others’ friends and counselors, and ultimately to deepen their relationships.

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How I Met My Brother



HSJ becomes more important to us than ever before. It is our portal of communication. It is the place that we can come back to in one year or twenty years and act like the same goofy kids we always have been. It is the sanctuary where we both discovered our Jewish identities. It is our safe haven and our home. It shaped who we are today.

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I’m Home



by Sarah Braslow I have spent the last six summers here at Jacobs Camp. I spent three summers as a camper; one summer in the Camp’s staff-in-training program (now called Gesher), and two wonderful summers as a counselor. Now, as my seventh summer gets rolling, I have taken on a new role –  something I […]

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