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Audacious Hospitality

What is Audacious Hospitality?

Jewish diversity, in all its hues, is no longer a wave – it is the ocean of Jewish life.

As part of the URJ’s 2020 vision, Audacious Hospitality is the focused effort to embrace our diversity and reach out to those currently not engaged in Jewish life. The URJ believes that everyone can feel at home in Jewish community – and that Judaism must meet people where they are today to thrive tomorrow. As a movement, we stand for a Judaism that is inclusive and open – we believe that there is more than one authentic way to be Jewish. Audacious Hospitality is a transformative spiritual practice rooted in the belief that we will be a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we fully welcome and incorporate the diversity that is the reality of modern Jewish life.

Audacious Hospitality as a new initiative is in its early phase of development. As such we are continually creating new innovative and strategic initiatives as we work to expand our reach. Examples of our current work include:


Resources and Education

  • Audacious Hospitality Pilot Toolkit: An original publication of the Audacious Hospitality department providing comprehensive educational resources.
  • Transgender Inclusion Active Learning Network: A joint Audacious Hospitality​ Initiative in partnership with the Religious Action Center, Keshet, and transgender members of the Jewish community.
  • Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center: In partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, the Learning Center offers Reform professionals resources to develop additional skills, strategies and understanding to make full participation of people with disabilities in congregational and communal life possible.
  • Belin Awards: Honoring congregations of all sizes that have developed uniquely innovative and effective Audacious Hospitality programs, the Belin Awards also solicits programs and practices that engage and retain members of our congregations. Lay leaders as well as congregational staff are encouraged to apply. Learn more in The Tent.


Leadership Development


Outreach and Engagement

  • Introduction to Judaism and Taste of Judaism: Existing initiatives of the URJ offering formal introduction to Judaism classes.
  • Community Connectors: An Audacious Hospitality and NFTY Alumni Network Initiative to shape and implement a new model of Jewish community and connection among millennials.

How is Audacious Hospitality Different from Previous URJ Initiatives?

When Rabbi Alexander Schindler created Reform Jewish Outreach in the 1970s, the then Union of American Hebrew Congregations heeded his call and began to listen to the needs of those in our communities who were not being heard – individuals who were considering becoming Jewish, and couples who were in love and did not see conversion as an option, but who were considering raising Jewish families. We asked them to tell us about the barriers they experienced, to tell us what made them feel welcome and what made them feel distant, and what we could do to bring them close. Through this collaborative process we learned a great deal, much of which provides the foundation for the work of Audacious Hospitality today.

Currently, we see the need to widen the circle and engage more groups of people who are often unrecognized and underserved in Jewish communal and institutional spaces. Jewish populations such as Jews by choice and those exploring Judaism, Jews of color, Jews who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer, Jews who live with physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities, multiracial families, millennials, the aging Jewish population, Jews who are unaffiliated and uninspired by Jewish communal offerings, and of course, the evolving needs of interfaith and intermarried couples and families, requires our focused attention. With this history and our current Audacious Hospitality practices, we now have a fuller understanding to meet the needs of those in the margins of our Jewish community. It is our goal through Audacious Hospitality to build on our historical success and continue to strengthen the Reform movement and North American Jewry.

JewV'Nation Fellowship

A year-long project incubator and leadership development program supporting emerging Jewish leaders and innovative interfaith outreach initiatives.

PJ Library-URJ-WRJ Partnership

The URJ and Women of Reform Judaism have partnered with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to provide PJ Library subscriptions through congregations in select areas across the country. 

Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center

This is the place to access webinars, videos, and written resources from top professionals, interact with experts, and consult other congregations and Reform Movement staff members on involving people with disabilities and their families.

Introduction to Judaism

Introductory Judaism Classes

Designed to empower seekers who are interested in exploring Judaism.

A Taste of Judaism®

A free 3-session class for beginners - Jewish or not - that explores the topics of Jewish spirituality, ethics and community values.

 

ReformJudaism.org

An accessible and welcoming website where anyone can find Jewish learning, regardless of their previous Jewish education.