Toby Singer

Toby Singer

Inside Leadership
JewV'Nation Fellow Sarah Kipp

Making our synagogue communities more audaciously hospitable is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. In fact, there are two critical parts to the work we do to make our communities feel open and inclusive to all:  reaching out and looking in as well.

In reaching out, we build and strengthen bonds with people who may not think of a synagogue as a welcoming place for them, while doing our best to teach our communities how to be warmly inviting. The other half of the work, not to be overlooked, involves turning an eye inward, to the people who already count themselves among the...

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Some British guys in the ‘60s once sang, “Love is all you need” – but if love were truly all you needed for a successful relationship or marriage, it’s likely we’d have less divorce, less marriage counseling, and less soul-searching as people change and grow apart.

The reality, though, is that there are many factors to a successful long-term relationship, and one such factor relates to the hidden pitfalls in relationships between people of different faith backgrounds. From engaging with each other’s family to deciding what to do with each other’s holidays to dealing with differing...

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Headshot of a smiling young man with close cropped brown hair and glasses wearing a blue shirt

Jewish millennials, even those growing up within establishment communities, have flocked to alternative and nontraditional experiences in increasing numbers, seeking connection that is not quite being fulfilled by traditional synagogue programming. Their bond with Judaism may not be in question – but the way that connection manifests itself is up for debate.

Evan Miller believes one way synagogues can reach their millennial populations is through promoting profound connection and community using the teachings of Jewish mysticism.

When Evan lost his father at the age of 17,...

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"How are you Jewish?” is a question Rivka Campbell, a Canadian Jew of Jamaican descent, hears often, and there’s nothing more exhausting than having to explain repeatedly her presence in a community to which she belongs.

For many people from marginalized Jewish communities, interacting with the larger Jewish community can be fraught with these sorts of interactions. Even if a question is well-meaning or prompted by genuine curiosity, there’s often a gap between the conventional wisdom of what a Jew looks like to the Ashke-normative brain of mainstream Judaism, and what a Jew...

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Group of adults and children wearing Temple Israel shirts and carrying a Torah outdoors

In Reform synagogues across North America, late June brings warmer temperatures (yes, even to Canada!), trees in full bloom, a cessation of Jewish holidays, the start of summer camp, and often, relaxed summer worship services. While outreach efforts to marginalized groups is high on our list of priorities during the school year, here are five reasons why summer – and summer services, in particular – are the perfect time to try out some new inclusion-oriented programming.

Core congregants offer the best welcome: Having worked and attended services in more congregations than I can count... Read More

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