"Communities of practice are defined as groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they
interact regularly." (Etienne Wenger, Communities of Practice; A Brief Introduction).
Through communities of practice, URJ congregations are coming together to learn from experts in the field, ask big questions, share ideas and best
principles, apply these lessons to their home congregation through experimentation and as a result, catalyze congregational change. Through participation
in a community of practice, congregational lay leaders and professionals are emboldened to take risks, learn from their success and challenges and
establish new knowledge for the field and the Movement.
"Across North America, people hunger for real connections. They want – they need – to be part of meaningful communities. The URJ's new initiative, Expanding Our Reach Communities of Practice, is designed specifically to meet that need. Please join us in this holy work, as Reform congregations come together, taking risks, exploring new ideas, innovating, refining, retrying, and, ultimately, re-imagining Jewish life."
Rabbi Rick Jacobs
Active Communities of Practice
B'nai Mitzvah Revolution: Launched in Fall 2012
Successfully Engaging Young Families: Launched in January 2013
Pursuing Excellence through your Early Childhood Center: Launched in January 2013
Emerging Young Adult Initiatives: Launched in January 2013
Reimaginging Financial Support for your 21st Century Congregation: Launched in March 2013
Currently, no new communities of practice are open for applications. 4-5 Active Learning Networks on the topics of current communities of practice will be launched at the 2013 URJ Biennial in December.
Applications will be available in fall 2013 on this website.
If you would like to be notified when these - or other - communities of practice or active learning networks open, complete this form.
URJ Emerging Young Adult Initiatives
With an array of alternative opportunities to connect to Jewish life today, young adults are increasingly invisible within synagogue walls. This community of practice brings together congregations aspiring to launch or significantly scale-up their 20s and 30s engagement efforts.
Successfully Engaging Young Families
Synagogues can serve as a center for families with young children to explore their Jewish identity and build sustainable community. This community of practice brings together congregations without early childhood centers (previously referred to as preschools) that seek to engage these families.
Pursuing Excellence Through Your Early Childhood Center
With increased costs and steep competition from government-funded universal pre-kindergarten, Reform congregational early childhood centers (previously referred to as preschools) must take a comprehensive approach to stand out in todays marketplace. This community of practice brings together congregations looking to address these challenges.
Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation
Every synagogue community requires financial support to operate. Most
congregations have relied on an outdated financial model. Through
participation in this community of practice we will explore the concept
of financial support being directly connected to a relational investment
between the congregational community and each member - understanding
from the congregants' perspective the value of being invested in a
The B'nai Mitzvah Revolution This
innovative program seeks to deepen the experience of middle
school children and their families as they prepare for and then
celebrate a b'nai
mitvah. A joint project of Hebrew Union College with the URJ, the
initiative addresses the challenges faced by many synagogues as a result
of the b'nai
mitzvah celebration driving Jewish learning of youth prior to age 13. This program is indicative of the goal of the URJ's Campaign for Youth Engagement, to increase the level of Jewish teen engagement within its Movement. Find out more information about the B'nai Mitzvah Revolution and the Campaign for Youth Engagement.