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October 1, 2014 | 7th Tishrei 5775

2011 Epstein Communicate Award Recipients

Epstein Communicate Awards and Honorable Mentions were presented at the 2011 North American Biennial Convention.

2011 Epstein Communicate Awards

Communicate is the online resource bank of over 2,600 programs and ideas that has been created exclusively for Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) congregations and their members. Every two years, summaries in several categories are selected to receive an Epstein Award, recognizing those congregations' outstanding programming. Award recipients received a $1,000 grant in programming funds. awarded at the URJ Biennial Convention in Washington, DC, December 14-18, 2011.

Communicate founders Paddy and Barry Epstein created this grant to encourage congregants to submit their successful programs and ideas to the Communicate resource bank.

Epstein Communicate Awards will be presented for the following programs:

Jewish Service Learning-A Guide for Youth and Family Education
Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco, CA (Category: Congregations with more than 750 households)
Congregation Emanu-El believes that incorporating Jewish service learning (which combines meaningful community service with instruction and reflection) into educational settings builds community and provides students with an opportunity to explore and strengthen their Jewish identities. In its comprehensive guide to Jewish service learning, Congregation Emanu-El compiled extensive information and resources that can lead to successful Jewish service learning.
Resources: comprehensive guide; Summary number 2687

Grand Shabbat
Temple Shaarei Shalom, Boynton Beach, FL (Category: Congregations with 250-750 households)
Seeking to enhance the typical Shabbat experience, Temple Shaarei Shalom created Grand Shabbat, which consists of a Shabbat service followed by a community Shabbat dinner hosted in members' homes. The event attracted many people who had not been active members and also forged new friendships, which resulted in greater participation in congregational life.
Summary number 2683

Café Shabbat
Congregation Beth Am, Tampa, FL (Category: Congregations with fewer than 250 households)
With Café Shabbat, Congregation Beth Am adapted more ambitious programs (like a Friday night Synagogue Synaplex) to suit the needs and resources of its small congregation. On the first Shabbat of every month, the congregation offers coffee, bagels and a choice of Shabbat-appropriate activities before Saturday morning services. Some activity choices include a drumming circle; yoga; Israeli dancing; discussion groups; Jewish food and cooking demonstrations; and more!
Summary number 2679

Carbon Neutral Calculator
Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA (Category: How to green your congregation)
Temple Rodef Shalom believes b'nei mitzvot, weddings and other celebrations are a cause for joy, but they also recognize the impact some of these celebrations can have on the environment. In response, Temple Rodef Shalom created a "Carbon Footprint Calculator," which helps people estimate the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a particular celebration. The tool then directs users to different organizations that can help with emission-reduction projects so folks can offset their emissions, effectively making the simchah "carbon-neutral."
Resources: carbon neutral announcementcarbon calculator; Summary number 2676

Blue Jean Shabbat
Temple Shalom, Dallas, TX (Category: Membership retention of post-b'nei mitzvah families)
Temple Shalom provided 6-12 grade students with a worship experience that was not only tailored to their age group but also developed by peer leaders. Teens lead the service while Temple Shalom staff assist and offer a short d'var Torah that is accessible and related to things in the teens' lives. Teens have picked up the leadership baton and are organizing services and programs on their own, keeping them and their families engaged in congregational life post-b'nei mitzvah.
Resources: Blue Jean Shabbat promotional flyer; Summary number 2689

Honorable Mention Certificates will be presented for the following programs:

Planning for the Sacred
Beth Hillel Temple, Kenosha, WI
Summary number 2678

Yad b’Yad: Synagogue-Based Initiative for Teens with Developmental Challenges
Congregation Kol Ami, White Plains, NY
Summary number 2674

Wine Tasting Havdalah
Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim, Deerfield, IL
Summary number 2682

The Face of Our People
Judea Reform Congregation, Durham, NC
Summary number 2685

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