The Union for Reform Judaism has launched an exciting new initiative to strengthen and connect our Reform communities across North America. Each
congregation will be a part of one of the 35 URJ communities across North America. The program is currently underway in thirteen communities (a list of
these communities is available in a link below) from each of our four URJ North American districts. Only three or four Communities in each District are
part of this initial roll-outwe are moving deliberately to make sure we get it right. These communities are already working and planning. The remaining
URJ Communities will be launched between now and Fall of 2014.
URJ Communities are lay-led organizations, whose primary agenda and activities reflect the insights of lay leaders. The URJ Community Chairs have had
special training, and ongoing advice from the gifted professionals of the Unionbut the strategies, programs and evaluations are the responsibility of the
Community lay leadership. Each Community has three lay leaders: a Chair, a Vice-Chair for Presidents and a Vice-Chair for Community Building plus a staff
partner. (A listing of these lay leaders is also included in a link below).
These lay leaders, approximately 50 in number, took part in a training program, both online and in person. The programs were planned, developed, and
facilitated almost entirely by the lay leaders of an Implementation Task Force, which has been working since last January to design the URJ Communities
In this first phase of the program, our local Communities teams are being asked to undertake two major projects:
design and hold a meeting for Presidents of congregations, where people can build relationships, exchange ideas, problems and best practices (see a
link below for a schedule of these meetings), and
hold a community building event or activity, open to all members of URJ congregations within a Community, in early 2014.
We believe that the URJ Communities can have a profound and positive impact on our congregations and their members, and it is gratifying to see the
momentum begin to build for this first group. Soon, we will begin recruiting leadership for the next group of URJ Communities. And there will be
information available about the Communities at the URJ Biennial in San Diego this December, including a booth on Resource Road of the Kikar. Stop by and
see us there.