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 announcement; carbon 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
Honorable Mention Certificates will be presented for the following programs:
Planning for the Sacred Beth
Hillel Temple, Kenosha, WI Summary number 2678
Synagogue-Based Initiative for Teens with Developmental Challenges Congregation
Kol Ami, White Plains, NY Summary number 2674
Wine Tasting Havdalah Congregation
Bnai Jehoshua Beth Elohim, Deerfield, IL Summary number 2682
The Face of Our People Judea
Reform Congregation, Durham, NC Summary number 2685