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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776

Contact: Emily Grotta
UAHC Department of Communications

Twenty-Two Reform Synagogues Honored
for Outreach to Interfaith Families at UAHC Biennial

Book Featuring Winning Programs Available from UAHC Press

(BOSTON, December 7)--Twenty-two Reform synagogues were honored today for outstanding programs to welcome interfaith couples and Jews-by-choice at the UAHCs Biennial Convention meeting here. The programs are featured in Reform Jewish Outreach: The 2002 Idea Book, a new manual published by the UAHC Press.

Ten of the congregations received the Belin Outreach Award, which carries a $1,000 prize, while 12 congregations were recognized with honorable mentions. The Belin Awards are given by the Joint Commission on Reform Jewish Outreach and are funded through the generosity of the late David Belin, the first chairman of the commission. The programs are judged on their effectiveness, creativity, and whether they can be easily replicated by other synagogues.

"David was steadfast in his belief that Judaism's future depends on our ability to reach out to interfaith couples and welcome them into our synagogues," said Dru Greenwood, director of the Commission. "These awards show that congregations across the continent are creatively and effectively doing that."

The Reform Movement's commitment to outreach is traced to December 1978, when the late Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, president of the UAHC from 1973-96, called upon the Board of Trustees to establish a commission to address the needs of individuals converting to Judaism, intermarried couples, children of intermarried parents, and those interested in learning about Judaism. Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, who succeeded Schindler as UAHC president in 1996, has continued the Union's strong commitment to Outreach.

Congregations that will receive the $1,000 Belin Outreach Award, and the programs which they established, are:

  • Temple Emanuel of Tempe, Tempe, AZ
    From Generation to Generation: Interfaith Responsa and Above and Beyond New Beginnings.
    In the first program, the temple bulletin is used as a vehicle for readers to pose provocative questions on Outreach in a responsa format; in the second, a series of field trips and workshops expand the experiences and knowledge of new Jews-by-choice far beyond synagogue walls.

  • Congregation Emeth, Gilroy, CA
    A Highly Integrated Year-Round Outreach Program for Small Congregations, an opportunity for participants to discover or re-discover Judaism in eight Sunday morning sessions.

  • Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
    Celebrations! A Parents' Guide to the Jewish Holidays, an easy-to-use notebook offering guidance to Jewish and non-Jewish parents seeking to incorporate Jewish celebration and practice in their homes

  • Temple Adat Shalom, Poway, CA
    Three Holiday Workshops from Fall Through Spring; a series of creative and accessible ways for families to mark Passover, Sukkot, and Tu B'Shevat.

  • Temple Micah, Washington, DC
    Non-Jewish Spouses' Discussion Group with the Rabbi, which invites non-Jewish interfaith partners to meet at the rabbi's home and discuss all things Jewish.

  • B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim, Glenview, IL
    Outreach Shabbat Dinner and Service, an interactive meal in which panelists discuss their Jewish journeys and time is set aside for a question-and-answer session during the oneg.

  • Temple Israel and United Hebrew Congregation, St. Louis, MO
    Introduction to Judaism II: Doorways to Judaism, an eight-week curriculum that includes study of prayer, ritual, and tradition, and how to integrate them into daily life.

  • Temple Beth El, Las Cruces, NM
    Pleasant Aftertastes: Variations on a Theme, a follow-up to the UAHC's A Taste of Judaism course.

  • Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA
    Conversion as Life-Cycle Event, an innovative curriculum for fifth and sixth graders.

  • Beth El Hebrew Congregation, Alexandria, VA
    Conversion Seminar and Havdalah Service, in which a festive dinner is followed by an overview of the conversion process and tips on family issues.

The congregations which received an honorable mention award are:

  • Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA
  • Temple Ahavat Shalom, Northridge, CA
  • Temple Sinai, Oakland, CA
  • United Jewish Center, Danbury, CT
  • Temple Kol Emeth, Marietta, GA
  • Temple Israel, West Bloomfield, MI
  • Temple Shalom, Aberdeen, NJ
  • Temple Beth Tikvah, Wayne, NJ
  • Congregation Oheb Sholom, Reading, PA
  • Temple Emanu-El, Dallas, TX
  • Temple Beth-El, San Antonio, TX.

Copies of The 2000 Idea Book are $15.00 each. To order, visit the call the UAHC Press Web site or call toll free at (888) 489-UAHC. Previous years' idea books are also available from the UAHC Press.

For more information about the Reform Movement's Outreach efforts, please consult the UAHC Web site at

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The UAHC Press is the publishing arm of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in 888 synagogues. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews and educational programs.


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