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August 27, 2015 | 12th Elul 5775
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URJ Communities

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 twenty five communities from each of our four URJ North American Districts. The remaining Communities will go live later this year.

URJ Communities are lay-led organizations, whose primary agenda and activities reflect the insights of lay leaders. The URJ Community leaders have had special training, and ongoing advice from the gifted professionals of the Union-but 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.

These lay leaders, approximately 75 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 January of 2013 to implement the URJ Communities program.

Initially, 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, and
  • hold a community building event or activity, open to all members of URJ congregations within a Community-sometime subsequent to the Presidents' gathering.
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. Soon, we will begin recruiting leadership for the next group of URJ Communities. If you are interested in learning more about the URJ Communities, contact URJ Communities.

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