Posts Tagged: Reform Judaism

The Chain of Tradition in Jewish Education



I share Dr. Charles Edelsberg’s trepidations about making predictions, especially when it comes to the curriculum – in its broadest sense – of Reform Jewish education. With dramatic changes underway in both the American and Jewish communal landscapes, it would seem folly to make statements for which one might be held accountable. And yet, because […]

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Jewish Education: The Future is Today



by Robin Eisenberg Dr. Charles Edelsberg’s recent blog post begins with a statement about his being “wary of invitations to predict the future.” My sense is that much that is addressed in his post is not about the future: It is now! The points raised here can be heard in our congregational committee and staff […]

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Rosh HaShanah FAQs



Imagine someone saying to you, “Your life is a do-over. You’ve got a clean slate.” That’s just what Billy Crystal says to a friend complaining of the waste of his life in the 1991 hit, City Slickers. Most of us, at one point or another, wish we could have that do-over. Well, in the Jewish […]

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Unprecedented Opportunity: The Future of Reform Jewish Education



by Dr. Charles Edelsberg

I am wary of invitations to predict the future… of anything. While I am a longtime student of literature on the future of education, dating back nearly four decades to my public school days (when I frequently consulted the works of Marvin Cetron, Paul Ehrlich, John Naisbitt, and Alvin Toffler), I seem to have an uncanny knack for miscalculating what the future will bring. It has taken me years to learn to distinguish between fads and trends. It requires a great deal of careful study to separate out the pundits from the pontificators, an activity I take seriously. But I am no oracle. Thus comments I offer below are issued with a healthy dose of trepidation.

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On Healing a Hardened Heart



“You hurt me.” “I feel betrayed.” “How can I trust you?” As the High Holy Days draw near, questions of morality, goodness, justice, forgiveness began swirling round my psyche and my heart. I got married last May to a woman I love with all my being. We decided to invite only our closest family and […]

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The Reform Movement at Its Best



This past weekend, my wife Helene and I had a chance to see the Reform Movement at its best and got to do so while also listening to the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Mozart and Ravel. On Friday night, we went to Tanglewood (the summer home of the Boston Symphony  Orchestra on beautiful grounds in […]

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The Future of Reform Judaism: What Do YOU Think?



This summer has been a busy and historic one for the URJ. It’s been nearly two months since Rabbi Rick Jacobs was installed at president of the Union for Reform Judaism, taking the reins from Rabbi Eric Yoffie, who now serves as our president emeritus. For those of you who couldn’t be at the presidential […]

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From Disgrace to Praise



By Rabbi Yoel Kahn I have spent my life in the Reform Movement. I grew up and became bar mitzvah at Temple Emanu El of San Jose, California, and the most important and formative experience of my life was my first summer as a camper at UAHC Camp Swig (now URJ Camp Newman). Several years […]

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Galilee Diary: We Are Here



Israelis for years rejected Reform as an import. They imported jeans and Coca Cola with enthusiasm – but pluralism and egalitarianism were stopped at the border… -Rabbi Naamah Kelman-Ezrahi, dean of HUC Jerusalem, at the Israel Biennial The Reform movement in Israel recently held its biennial convention, at the beautiful Shefayim convention center on the […]

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A Raging Flame to Illuminate the Future



by Rabbi Jack Paskoff I don’t know how tall Robert Gerofsky is, but he’s a lot bigger than I am. Last Monday morning, as I stood in my tallit, my vintage NFTY-PAR hat (it counts as a head covering), shorts and a t-shirt, I had Robert stand next to me as I spoke with 55 […]

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40 Years of Women on the Bimah

Bat Mitzvah Comes of Age: Looking to Tweens and Teens for Inspiration



by Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Ph.D. This year marks a double simcha for American Jews. It is the 40th anniversary of the ordination of the first woman rabbi and the 90th anniversary of the first girl to become a bat mitzvah during a worship service. I wonder whether Judith Kaplan – who pioneered the bat […]

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40 Years of Women on the Bimah

Thoughts on Celebrating Rabbi Priesand’s Ordination



by Rabbi Denise L. Eger On this 40th anniversary of Rabbi Sally Priesand’s ordination, I am reflecting on the impact of that moment on our own Reform Judaism, the larger Jewish world and the implications on my own life. Rabbi Priesand is not just the first woman rabbi of contemporary times, but she is a […]

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40 Years of Women on the Bimah

“Men Can Be Rabbis?!”



by Jesse Paikin “Who’s that guy?” I asked my mom. “He’s the rabbi,” she answered. I stared up at my mom, with a blank gaze on my face. When I was eight years old, my family joined a synagogue for the first time. Even before then, we always had a fairly strong sense of Jewish […]

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Reforming Reform: 2. The ‘Platform,’ ‘Principles,’ and Cafeteria Judaism



As I wrote in my first post, the question of the reasons for the commandments, ta’amei hamitzvot, has been a central issue in the historical evolution of Judaism from the middle ages till today. In the 19th century, Reform, influenced by the European Age of Reason, took up the idea that if a ritual mitzvah […]

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