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October 10, 2015 | 27th Tishrei 5776
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URJ Faculty of Expert Practitioners

As part of ongoing efforts to catalyze congregational change, engage the next generation, and expand its reach, the Union for Reform Judaism launched the URJ Faculty initiative. Rabbi Rick Jacobs has convened a diverse array of leaders and thinkers in today’s Jewish world who will help to creatively and constructively envision, build, sustain, strengthen and enrich Reform Jewish communities throughout North America.

Serving as scholars, experts and guides for our Movement, faculty includes URJ staff members as well as acknowledged leaders and professionals throughout the Jewish world at-large.  Faculty members will:

  1. Provide expertise on key strategic issues to URJ congregations via written materials, webinars, and occasional in-person presentations at major gatherings, including the Movement’s Biennial convention.
  2. Collaborate with URJ staff and lay leaders to identify, devise and implement strategic priorities to catalyze congregational change, as well as strengthen and enrich Reform Jewish communities.
  3. Convene annually to help craft a vision for the future of North American Jewry.

Recognizing that collaboration among experts and institutions leads to strong, vibrant communities, the URJ is proud of its Faculty initiative and the role it will play in enriching the Jewish world for generations to come.

Archived Webinars
Full-Time Faculty Members
Amy Asin
Amy AsinStrengthening Congregations: Amy Asin is Vice President, Strengthening Congregations at the URJ. More
Edie Mencher
Edie MencherSacred Communities of Caring: Rabbi Edythe Mencher, LCSW, serves on the faculty at the URJ, offering consultation to congregations, lay leaders, educators and clergy on creating caring communities that address the concerns of individuals and families. More
Cathy Rolland
Cathy RollandEarly Childhood Education and Young Family Engagement: As Director of Early Childhood Education at the URJ since 2007, Cathy has provided support to congregations that seek to ensure the early childhood center is a gateway to a lifetime of Jewish engagement for both children and their families. More
David Saperstein
David SapersteinSocial Justice: Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center, was selected by Newsweek magazine in 2009 as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill." More
Bradley Solmsen
Bradley SolmsenYouth Engagement: Rabbi Bradley Solmsen is Director of Youth Engagement for the Union for Reform Judaism. He has served as the director of Brandeis University's Office of High School Programs. More
Yehudit Werchow
Yehudit WerchowCoordinator of Israel Engagement: Rabbi Yehudit Werchow is the Jewish Agency's Senior Shlicha to the Union for Reform Judaism. She was born in Argentina and grew up in Israel. More
Adjunct Faculty Members
Elka Abrahamson
Elka AbrahamsonLeadership: Rabbi B. Elka Abrahamson assumed her role as  President of The Wexner Foundation on October 1, 2011. More
Shelly Christensen
Shelly ChristensenInclusion: Shelly Christensen, MA, is the award-winning Program Manager of the Minneapolis Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. More
Rachel Cowan
Rachel CowanSpirituality and Wise Aging: Rabbi Rachel Cowan received her ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1989. More
Allison Fine
Allison FineNetworks and Social Media: Allison Fine is the co-author of the bestselling The Networked Nonprofit, and author of the award-winning Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age. More
Anita Friedman
Anita FriedmanJewish Communal Service and Service Learning: Dr. Anita Friedman has served for 30 years as Executive Director of Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. More
Owen Gottlieb
Owen GottliebDigital Media and Games for Learning: Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, Ph.D. is the founder and director of ConverJent which nurtures, develops, and spreads Games for Jewish Learning. More
Dru Greenwood
Dru GreenwoodSynagogue Change & Outreach: Dru Greenwood's career has been dedicated to opening opportunities for deeper engagement for individuals and families in Jewish life and to strengthening the ability of congregations to fulfill their potential for building such sacred communities. More
Samuel Joseph
Samuel JosephLearning and Leadership: Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Ph.D. is Eleanor Sinsheimer Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where he teaches in the rabbinical school. More
Ari Kelman
Ari KelmanJewish Education: Ari Kelman is the Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford University. More
Amichai Lau Lavie
Amichai Lau LavieLiterature: Amichai Lau Lavie, the Founding Director of Storahtelling, is an Israeli-born teacher of Judaic Literature, specializing in the fusion of the performing arts with Jewish Education. More
David Mendelsson
David MendelssonIsrael Engagement: Dr. David Mendelsson is head of Israel Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and lectures at the Rothberg International School at the Hebrew University. More
Alan Morinis
Alan MorinisMussar: Dr. Alan Morinis is an unusual Jewish spiritual teacher and the Dean of the Mussar Institute. More
Joseph Reimer
Joseph ReimerInformal Learning: Joseph Reimer is the director of the Institute for Informal Jewish Education and associate professor and former director of the Hornstein Program at Brandeis University. More
Benjie Ellen Schiller
Benjie Ellen SchillerMusic and Spirituality: Cantor Benjie Ellen Schiller is Professor of Cantorial Arts at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music. More
Richard Vosko
Richard VoskoWorship Environments and Sacred Spaces: Richard S. Vosko, Hon. AIA has been working throughout the United States and Canada as a designer and consultant for worship environments since 1970. More
Sheila Weinberg
Sheila WeinbergSpirituality: Sheila Weinberg has worked in the Jewish community in multiple educational capacities for over 40 years, twenty-five years as a rabbi. More
Isa Aron
Isa AronLifelong Learning: Dr. Aron is Professor of Jewish Education, HUC/JIR, Los Angeles. More
Rosalie Boxt
Rosalie BoxtSpirituality and Jewish Music: Rosalie Boxt currently serves as Cantor of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland, a Reform congregation just north of Washington DC. More
Lisa Colton
Lisa ColtonTechnology & Social Media: Lisa Colton is the Chief Learning Officer at See3 Communications. More
Mindy B. Davids
Mindy DavidsEducation: Mindy Davids has worked as the Director of Religious School and Educational Innovation at Shaaray Tefila since 2006. More
Nancy Flam
Nancy FlamSpiritual Practice and Leadership: Rabbi Nancy Flam was the first Director of the IJS and a co-founder of the Jewish Healing Center in 1991. More
Dale Glasser
Dale GlasserStrategic Planning: Dale Glasser is a trainer of leaders, providing organizational assessment and resources for meeting ambitious strategic goals. More
Lisa D. Grant
Dr. Lisa GrantIsrael Education: Dr. Grant is Professor of Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (New York campus). More
Lawrence Hoffman
Lawrence HoffmanSpirituality, Worship & Synagogue Change: Dr. Lawrence A. Hoffman was ordained as a rabbi in 1969, received his Ph.D. in 1973, and has taught since then at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York. More
Dan Judson
Dan JudsonSynagogues, Finances, and Funding Models: Rabbi Dan Judson is the Director of Professional Development and Placement for the Hebrew College Rabbinical School and a doctoral candidate in Jewish history at Brandeis University. More
Yehuda Kurtzer
Yehuda KurtzerIsrael Engagement and Applied Judaica: Yehuda Kurtzer is President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. More
Liz Lerman
Liz LermanChoreography, Creativity and Evaluation: Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker. More
Ruth Messinger
Ruth MessingerGlobal Justice and Service Learning: Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development organization that supports human rights for marginalized people around the world. More
Josh Nelson
Josh NelsonMusic and Engaging 20s & 30s: Josh Nelson is one of the most popular performers and producers in modern Jewish music. More
David Sandmel
David SandmelInterreligious Affairs: David Fox Sandmel serves as Crown Ryan Professor of Jewish Studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and Director of Life-Long Learning at Temple Sholom in Chicago. More
Livia Thompson
Livia ThompsonSacred Management: Livia Thompson worked for many years in the non-profit sector both at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Lawyers Alliance for New York before joining Central Synagogue as executive director in 1993. More
Rob Weinberg
Rob WeinbergCongregational Learning and Synagogue Transformation: Dr. Rob Weinberg has served since 2001 as National Director of the Experiment in Congregational Education (ECE), an initiative of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. More
Ron Wolfson
Ron WolfsonSacred Community: Ron Wolfson is a visionary Jewish educator whose enthusiasm for bringing Judaism alive in homes and synagogues has shaped his work in the community. More

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