November 26, 2013, New York, NY The Union for Reform Judaism's (URJ)
Ten Minutes of Torah reached a ten-year milestone this week. This email,
sent Monday through Friday, is one of the most successful and innovative
distance learning initiatives in the Jewish world. In 2003, Rabbi Eric
Yoffie, then URJ president launched Ten Minutes of Torah at the URJ Biennial convention in Minneapolis.
"Desperate to keep up, insecure about what we don't know, we find time
to stuff information of every kind into our heads. If we make time to
our cell phones a dozen times a day and to check our email five times an
hour, surely we can find 10 minutes to contemplate sacred words that
nourish the soul," said Yoffie, who proclaimed that Reform Jews must
study Torah on a regular basis and that even 10 minutes of study each
could transform lives.
Ten years later, each day more than 20,000 subscribers receive an email
that brings the Jewish world to them. From Torah commentaries written by
scholars to recipes for baking challah, Ten Minutes of Torah explores
the great variety of Jewish life. Over the years, subscribers have
the history of Jews in America, the lives of Jews in Israel, Mishnah, Jewish ethics, Hebrew, the weekly Torah portion and prayer (t'filah).
"Ten Minutes of Torah is a pioneer in reaching Jewish audiences
electronically and may be the most successful adult education endeavor
Jewish world today," said Rabbi Victor Appell URJ's congregational
marketing director, who manages the Ten Minutes of Torah initiative,
programs have reached as many people."
Through its editions, subscribers have learned by email from more than
500 of the top luminaries in Reform Jewish life. Ten Minutes of Torah
also spawned associate projects, such as audio Torah commentaries and
educational webinars. Hundreds of congregations and educational programs
used Ten Minutes of Torah materials as the basis for their own adult
education and Torah study programs.
The URJ will celebrate this milestone anniversary at the URJ Biennial
San Diego, CA, on Friday morning, December 13, with a special
interactive Torah study session for the nearly 5,000 delegates in
text and commentary from Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, Vice President for
Special Projects at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanu-El, Westfield, NJ, will be posted on the
large screens for all to see. Delegates will then break into small
discussion groups to delve deeper into the meaning of the weekly Torah
"What better way to commemorate Ten Minutes of Torah than by
participating in a large-scale Torah study at the Biennial?" said
In 2014, there will be a weekly Ten Minutes of Torah edition devoted to
youth and the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of NFTY, the Reform Jewish youth movement. There will also be a weekly email dedicated to Jewish arts and culture.
Anyone who is interested, may sign up to receive Ten Minutes of Torah.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, lay
leaders, clergy and professionals across North America. Our progressive,
inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values
with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future
generations. Through programs, information and networking opportunities
provided by the URJ, our nearly 900 member congregations enhance their capacity
to build and expand community, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue
social justice and develop inspired leadership.