Contact: Emily Grotta
UAHC Department of Communications 212.650.4221 firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE THAN 5,000
EXPECTED AT REFORM MOVEMENT CONVENTION LARGEST U.S.
GATHERING OF JEWS BEGINS WENDESDAY
BOSTON--More than 5,000
people will be in Boston this week for the Reform Movement's Biennial
Convention, which meets Wednesday through Sunday at the Hynes Convention Center.
This year's convention,
which brings together the leadership of the more than 900 Reform congregations
in the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and its affiliate Women of Reform
Judaism, is the largest ever and exceeds what was anticipated even before the
events of September 11. Representatives from 49 states and the District of
Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Israel, Austria, the United
Kingdom, and Australia are attending.
"We're expecting more than
5,800 people for dinner Friday night," said Robin Hirsch, UAHC Director of
Meetings and Conventions. "That's a lot of Shabbat chicken," she said, referring
to what is traditionally served for dinner at the start of the Jewish Shabbat.
Major concerns that will be
addressed over the course of the Biennial Convention include Israel,
particularly in light of the events of this weekend; September 11, and its
impact on civil liberties; and new trends in personal and congregational worship
The convention includes
meetings of the General Assembly, the delegate body of the UAHC, at which major
presentations and addresses occur; more than 200 workshops on a wide variety of
topics of interest to congregational leaders; entertainment by the leading
musicians of the Jewish world; a 24-hour Shabbat experience, including a single
Saturday morning worship service for more than 5,000 people; and a vast array of
Judaica available for purchase in the exhibit hall (open to the public on
Among the highlights of the
Wednesday, December 5, 2001:
9:00 a.m. - Noon
Peace in Israel: Can A Great Miracle Happen There?
Arik Asherman, Executive Director, Rabbis for Human Rights, Jerusalem
Gidi Grinstein, Israel-Wexner Fellow, Kennedy School of Government
Yoram Peri, President, New Israel Fund & Professor, Hebrew University
Presentation of the Eisendrath Award for Service to the World Community to
the September 11 rescuers: As representatives are honored Wednesday night the
UAHC will announce how more than $1 million that was contributed to the UAHC
Disaster Relief Fund by Reform Jews in the wake of September 11 will be
Barry Shrage, President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston
Thursday, December 6, 2001:
Israel Update: 8:45 - 10:15 a.m.
Rabbi Uri Regev, director of the Israeli Religious Action Center and newly
appointed director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, Jerusalem
Steven Emerson, Executive Director, Investigative Project
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Friday, December 7, 2001:
10:15 a.m: A Torah Returns: Senator Edward Kennedy will bring a Torah given
by the UAHC to President John Kennedy 40 years ago to the Hynes Convention
Center. The Torah will be used for Shabbat worship during the convention.
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt: The Emory University professor who won a British
libel trial defending her book that exposed the twisted logic of Holocaust
deniers, will receive the Eisendrath Award for Service to World Jewry.
Saturday, December 8, 2001:
10:00 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Shabbat Morning Worship
Presidential Address by Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, at which major initiatives for
the coming year will be announced. (note: Rabbi Yoffie will begin speaking at
approximately 11:30 a.m.) 9:00 p.m. - 11 p.m.
A Pageant of Tribute to eight have made significant contributions to North
American Reform Jewry
Debbie Firedman in Concert
Sunday, December 9, 2001:
Judaica Exhibit open to the public, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Musical Concert: Biennial musicians to perform at concert to benefit the
Rashi School; open to the public.
Editor's note: All events
are open to the press.
# # #
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..