Contact: Emily Grotta UAHC Department of Communications 212.650.4221 email@example.com
UAHC Unveils "In The Beginning", New Set of Programs for Growing Families Interested in Judaism
Boston, MA, December 5, 2001 - "In The Beginning," a series of synagogue-based workshops for expectant parents and parents-to-be, was introduced to Reform congregational leaders at the UAHC Biennial meeting in Boston through December 9.
The new program, which can be implemented in any of the Reform Movement's more than 900 synagogues, introduces new parents to rituals and traditions that will help them welcome their children into Jewish life.
"In The Beginning" is an inclusive program designed by the Joint Conference on Reform Jewish Outreach to welcome intermarried couples, those who have not participated in Jewish activities for years, and single and same-gender parents into Jewish family life.
It consists of two three-session seminars: "In the Beginning Having a Jewish Baby," for expectant parents, and "In the Beginning Jewish Parenting Made Simple," for parents of toddlers. Each course covers topics of special interest to new parents, including:
The blessing that can be said over a newborn
The importance of brit milah
How to conduct a brit bat, a Jewish baby naming ceremony
Blessings that make everyday activities special
The significance mitzvot and tzedakah
How to observe Shabbat and keep a Jewish home
Dru Greenwood, Director of the UAHC-CCAR Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach, said "'In the Beginning' is designed to reach those who may not currently be connected to a congregation. Over the course of the program, young parents will see "Reform Jews value and seek their participation in Jewish life, and that Reform Judaism has something of inestimable worth for them," she said.
Synagogues interested in conducting "In the Beginning" at their facilities will receive a comprehensive program book, featuring the seminars' curriculum, sample worksheets, supplemental reading, and ideas on how to advertise the program through temple bulletins, word-of-mouth, and local newspapers.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC..