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April 18, 2014 | 18th Nisan 5774

Mark J. Pelavin

Senior Advisor to the President, URJ

Mark J. Pelavin serves as Senior Advisor to the President of the Union for Reform Judaism, the largest denomination in American Jewish life. As a member of the Union's Senior Leadership Team, he plays a key role in developing and refining the Union's priorities and structures as the Union moves into a new era.

Mark directs the URJ's communications efforts, including its website, and serves as a primary spokesperson for the Movement. He is the Executive Editor of Reform Judaism magazine, the world's most widely circulated Jewish magazine, and oversees URJ Books and Music, helping lead the transition to new forms of publishing. Mark plays a leadership role in shaping the Movement's public policy agenda and represents the URJ at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. He also plays a key role in designing and producing the plenary sessions for the URJ Biennial (the largest conference in American Jewish life), including 2011's address by President Barak Obama; he holds overall responsibility for the 2013 Biennial in San Diego.

Mark's current projects include: developing a new website designed to make Reform Judaism more accessible to the unaffiliated and under-affiliated; publishing the digital edition of the Union's flagship Hebrew language curriculum; and leading l implementation of the reorganization of the Union's staff and leadership structures.

From 1996 to 2012, Mark was Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) in Washington, D.C, where he was one of the Jewish community's leading legislative strategists and senior lobbyists. He also served as Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, relating ethical and spiritual principles of Judaism to the problems of today's world.

Mark has represented the Reform Movement in dialogue with other faith communities as the Director of the Commission on Interreligious Affairs and assists congregations and rabbis across North America in developing effective interreligious programming. He has played a key role in the Reform Movement's ground-breaking Muslim/Jewish dialogue work.

A popular speaker, respected teacher, and a leading spokesperson for the Reform Movement, Mark's observations and writings have been carried in newspapers across the nation, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs.

Before joining the staff of the Reform Movement, Mark held various positions, including Director of Governmental and Public Affairs for the American Jewish Congress and as a member of the Mondale for President Campaign staff.

Mark is a graduate of Brandeis University (B.A. in Politics) and the Georgetown University Law Center (J.D., cum laude). He and his wife, Lori Morris, live in Bowie, Md., with their two children, Jordan and Daniel.

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