May 2, 2013, New York, NY The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is offering grants to help congregations offer Taste of Judaism , a free, 3-session class for beginners Jewish or not that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values.
A Taste of Judaism is a high visibility, low threshold program of liberal Jewish content designed to pique the interest of all who are searching for an access point to Jewish life. The class is designed for those who would like to explore or re-explore the foundations of Jewish tradition and are looking for an entry into Judaism. The class has been remarkably successful with unaffiliated Jews, those who are not Jewish but who are interested in learning about Judaism, interfaith couples and their families and those considering conversion.
Congregations may apply for grant funding if they have not received a URJ Taste of Judaism grant within the past three years. The URJ will fund 75% or more of anticipated advertising costs plus a modest honorarium for the instructor. Congregations with 150 or fewer members may be considered for full grant funding. Grant applications are due by May 31 and notification of awards will be made by June 30.
With or without URJ financial support, all URJ congregations offering A Taste of Judaism receive training, camera-ready advertisements, a class listing on the URJ's new website for people interested in Judaism, access to Taste of Judaism administrative documents, and more.
"A Taste of Judaism is one of the URJ's best tools for expanding our reach beyond the walls of our congregations," said URJ Senior Vice President Rabbi Jonah Pesner, "We offer these grants so that congregations will have the advertising dollars to share the beauty of our Jewish tradition with all who are curious."
"It was a joy teaching the Taste of Judaism series," said Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT. "We never would have reached this diverse group of people without it. For the Jews who took the class, they learned more about their heritage. For those in interfaith families, it helped created greater understanding. And for non-Jews, who knew little about Judaism, they came away with information to be more informed. This type of class is an example of what the URJ does best. The financial, educational, and organizational support made this an easy and effective program that touched many lives."