Posts Tagged: Membership

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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Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web



Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know! “Paying Our Fair Share,” Washington Jewish Week Finding the best financial model for congregants to pay is a challenge […]

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The Ice Cream Cone Approach to Youth Engagement



Recently, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been full of stories and photos of campers and counselors getting ready for their return to camp, their trip to Israel or their adventure with a service-learning program. I am so happy for all them. They are following a path that we, in the professional Jewish world, have […]

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Not All Disabilities are Visible



I recently saw the video “I am Brianna Couture” (with thanks to the Ruderman Family Foundation blog Zeh Lezeh for bringing it to my attention). It’s a video meant to open our eyes to the notion of invisible disabilities. After watching, I got to thinking: This is a great, eye-opening opportunity to re-frame our perceptions […]

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Our Temple President Just Turned 40!



by Rabbi Erin Polansky Our temple president just turned 40 – but those are not words commonly heard in synagogue boardrooms. In his second year of leadership and our congregation’s second year of existence, Neshamah Congregation’s president has just celebrated his fortieth birthday. Why is this noteworthy? Because while other congregations are bemoaning the disappearance […]

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Jewish American Heritage Month: A Time to Preserve Your Congregation’s Heritage



May is Jewish American Heritage Month, which is a great impetus to talk about congregational heritage preservation. These days, communities are rapidly changing and Jewish communities are no exceptions: Congregations that were once large and thriving now find themselves with dwindling membership rolls; meanwhile other congregations are experiencing unexpected growth and are faced with the […]

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One Hundred Jewish Youth Professionals Walk Into a Church…



by Barb Shimansky, MSW I knew going into the Youth Engagement Conference that our Sunday morning trip to the First African Methodist Episcopal (FAME) Church would be a highlight of the weekend. Learning how another faith organization engages their youth would surely provide some insight into how we as Jewish professionals can do the same. […]

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Tell Me Your Story



by Alan S. Halpern I confess to a prejudice. When a synagogue or church website proclaims, “We are a warm and welcoming congregation,” I am immediately skeptical. Why tell me you are warm and welcoming? Just be warm and welcoming. When I visit a friend’s home, my friends don’t claim to be warm and welcoming. […]

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No Secret Handshake – Just a Code and a Reader



by SooJi Min Every Wednesday morning, the senior staff of Temple Beth Emeth meets for a couple hours. The structure is usually the same – d’var torah, highlights from the week, cholim (a discussion of those who are ill), and updates. It was on one such morning – April 18, 2012 to be exact – […]

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