Posts Tagged: Membership
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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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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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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Don’t Give Up on Jews Who Care About Being Jewish



Last week, the Pew Center for Research released a new study of American Jews that is still reverberating throughout the Jewish world and beyond. But so much of the analysis has been locked into binary categories: Who won and who lost? Is the glass half full or half empty? Are Jews a religion or a […]

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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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Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive



Inclusion can seem overwhelming for a community that has not previously made accommodations or offered inclusive programming for individuals with disabilities. My advice? Start small, but start somewhere – and while this may help to make the task seem somewhat less daunting, I suspect that for many, it begs the question, “How do I begin?” […]

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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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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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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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The Youngest Member of My Sisterhood



As a member of the coveted “younger woman” demographic, I often get asked how I got involved with the sisterhood at my temple. I think people are hoping that I will give them a magical answer that will unlock the mystery of how to get these women to join their temple sisterhood. Sorry, I don’t […]

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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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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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Hitting a Home Run for the Temple



With a little ingenuity, my synagogue managed to combine fundraising and socializing at a recent event. The Long Island Ducks are an independent baseball team located in Suffolk county Long Island, part of the Atlantic League. Every year, the team invites groups to sing either the national anthem prior to the game or a mid-game […]

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