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September 21, 2014 | 26th Elul 5774
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Communities of Practice

What is a Community of Practice?
Communities of Practice"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
  • Reimagining Financial Support for your 21st Century Congregation: Launched in March 2013

Currently, no new communities of practice are open for applications. To participate in programming geared toward these topics join our Active Learning Networks.

URJ Community of Practice Approach

Why Should A Congregation Participate in a Community of Practice?

What is Required for Participation?

Communities of Practice

young adultsURJ 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. 


young familiesSuccessfully 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.


early childhoodPursuing 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 today’s marketplace. This community of practice brings together congregations looking to address these challenges. 


Financial SupportReimagining 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 congregational community.


BThe 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.

 
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