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October 30, 2014 | 6th Cheshvan 5775
Dear Reader



 REFORM JUDAISM 



Dear Reader:

The Reform movement of North America has entered a new era---a time of great promise and possibility, a time for a shared vision and of unified action.

As leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, we commit ourselves to fostering a Reform Jewish renaissance based on Torah study and spiritual renewal. We believe that Jewish continuity on this continent can be assured only if we put Torah at the center of our lives.

Our first priority, therefore, is to create more educational opportunities that will elevate Jewish literacy and liturgical competence among the estimated 1.3 million Reform Jews affiliated with the nearly 900 UAHC congregations in the United States and Canada. Our second priority---no less critical---is to enlist you and your family in this quest for spiritual and cultural enlightenment.

We harbor no illusions about the magnitude of so ambitious a goal. But we are confident that, in unity and partnership, our national institutions, member synagogues, and individual congregants will succeed in re-energizing---even transforming---Reform Judaism. Together, we can create a community of Jews who are as comfortable in the language of the sacred as they are in the discourse of the everyday.

Our efforts have already begun. The UAHC's new Department of Adult Jewish Growth has expanded our Kallah adult retreat program in which participants learn sacred texts with acclaimed scholars and experience the joy of a community in study and worship. Last October the department began issuing Torat Hayim-Living Torah, a weekly Torah commentary in which Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators apply biblical insights to our contemporary lives. And, recognizing the dramatic impact of the UAHC camp experience on our young, we are expanding future camping opportunities to include every member family, regardless of ability to pay.

Our movement's seminary, HUC-JIR, has made adult Jewish learning part of its core mission, alongside its professional training programs. The Kollel in New York and Beit Midrash/Liberal Yeshivah in Jerusalem testify to our seminary's commitment to Jewish literacy and practice. The Morris Zimmerman Memorial Institute--marking its eleventh season-has become a model for retreats and shabbatonim in South Florida and New England.

For its part, our movement's international association of Reform rabbis, the CCAR, supports Jewish literacy by publishing guides to Jewish practices, including Gates of Mitzvah, Gates of the Seasons, and Gates of Shabbat. The Conference has issued hundreds of responsa, which provide guidance in every area of Jewish life. With its partners in the Reform movement, the CCAR also co-sponsors academic convocations, rabbinic academies, and specialized symposia.

We encourage you to join the thousands of Reform Jews who are returning to a life of Torah wrapped in joy and celebration. And we wish you a Chag Same'ach, a Happy Passover.

RABBI PAUL J. MENITOFF
Executive Vice President
Central Conference
of American Rabbis
RABBI ERIC H. YOFFIE
President
Union of American
Hebrew Congregations
RABBI SHELDON ZIMMERMAN
President
Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion
*For more information about adult Jewish growth programs, contact Rabbi Lawrence Raphael of the UAHC at (212) 650-4087;
Dr. Kerry Olitzky of the HUC-JIR at (212) 824-2229; and Rabbi Elliot Stevens of the CCAR at (212) 684-4990.
 
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