Biennial will bring together 5,000 Jewish lay leaders and professionals,
congregants, and clergy to learn, pray, share ideas, and
make decisions about the future of Jewish life. For the first time ever,
the Biennial is open to those outside the Reform Movement.
are excited to open the Biennial to our many friends from outside the
Reform Movement," said Biennial Chair Edward Burger (Fairfield, CT).
"When we opened up the proposals for our learning sessions, we received
more than 500 proposals, many of which came from beyond our synagogues
and institutions. We know we have much to learn from those outside our
Movement, and we are confident that we have much to offer them as well.
As a result of having this shared Biennial experience, we anticipate a
greater level of awareness and collaboration throughout the entire North
American Jewish community."
The WRJ Assembly will be integrated with the Biennial
programming, giving Biennial and Assembly participants opportunities to
study, worship, learn, network
and celebrate WRJ's Centennial Anniversary together.
Assembly culminates a year-long celebration
of WRJ's Centennial, which has been guided by the motto 'Inspired by the
past, Committed to the future,'" said WRJ Executive Director Rabbi
Marla J. Feldman. "During the concurrent Biennial and Assembly
conferences, we look forward to having the entire Reform Movement join
us as we learn more about
WRJ's storied accomplishments this century and also lay the foundation
for WRJ's next hundred
years and beyond."
Highlights for the 2013 Biennial
will include the largest Shabbat dinner in the
world; inspiring Torah study sessions and learning sessions; an evening
of entertainment in San Diego's historic Gaslamp District; world-class
concerts from Josh Nelson, Dan Nichols, Julie Silver, Rick
Recht, Billy Jonas and Neshama Carlebach; an exhibit hall with more than
150 vendors and more.
Participants will hear from top-notch speakers including Ruth Calderon, Member of
Knesset; Rabbi Elka
Abrahamson, President, Wexner Foundation; Jay Feinberg, Founder and CEO,
Gift of Life Bone Marrow
Foundation; and more to be announced.
Previous Biennials have featured President Barack Obama, former Vice
President Al Gore, former
Secretary of State Madeline Albright and actor and activist Michael J.
New to the Biennial this year is the Kikar Biennial,
the Biennial "Town Square" where participants will relax, network and
have access to special events and workshops. Also new are intensive
in-depth programs on a variety of topics, designed and taught by leaders
such as Ari Weinzweig, Co-Founder, Zingerman's Deli; Dr.
Alan Morinis, Founder, Mussar Institute, and Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer,
President, Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.
at Biennial will include intimate gatherings and a service with URJ
President Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Rabbi/Cantor Angela Buchdahl of Central
Synagogue in New York and retiring HUC President Rabbi David Ellenson.
2013 Biennial promises to be an exhilarating and illuminating event,"
said URJ Chair Steve Sacks. "We look forward to greeting old and new
friends, learning from one another and exploring ways to reshape the
fabric of the Jewish community together."