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August 31, 2015 | 16th Elul 5775

November 2011 Outreach Newsletter

Biennial Idea Exchange / Fundraising / New Outreach Brochure

Union for Reform Judaism - Talking Outreach
Website | Subscribe | Donate November 15, 2011 | 18 Cheshvan 5772


Idea Exchange at the Biennial »
Funding »
New Outreach Brochure »

Dear Outreach Chairs,

Outreach has a tremendous impact on congregational life both directly and indirectly. Youth, Adult Learning, Worship & Spirituality and more are all affected by the decisions our congregations make in Outreach areas.

We will explore some of these areas at the URJ Biennial.  We hope you will join us! (Did you hear? President Barack Obama is a featured speaker!) In this issue, we share a few thoughts about the Biennial as well as ideas for funding your congregations’ Outreach programs.  We are excited to introduce “Talking to Your Children about Jewish Identity in an Interfaith Family,” as well as some newly formatted pieces for your congregation.

We hope you enjoy the blessings of Outreach during your Thanksgiving festivities!


Victor AppellRabbi Victor Appell
Marketing, Outreach and New Communities Specialist
Time Zone: Eastern

 ChernowArlene Chernow
Outreach Specialist
Time Zone: Pacific

Vicky FarhiVicky Farhi
Outreach Specialist
Time Zone: Eastern

Stephanie FinkStephanie Fink
Outreach Specialist
Time Zone: Central
212.452.6792, T-Th

Outreach Idea Exchange at the Biennial!!!

Biennial LogoOne of the blessings of Outreach is that we reach people looking to connect to Judaism in so many different ways. Another blessing is the generosity of Outreach lay people and professionals who are constantly exploring the many layers and areas of Outreach.  At the 2011 Biennial, the URJ will offer Idea Exchange Sessions during which you can sit down, share and schmooze with your peers. You’re welcome to drop in at any point during this session to meet with and talk to other attendees who share your passion for Outreach. Tent cards on the table will designate which is the Outreach table.  We encourage you to begin these conversations online using the interactive ”chatter” feature on the Biennial website

The Outreach Idea Exchange Session will occur during Biennial time block D, Thursday, December 16, from 4-5 pm.

All of your Outreach Specialists will be available for personal consultations during the Biennial.  Email them now to make your appointment, and enjoy the benefit of an in-depth conversation about Outreach in your congregation.

Outreach Funding can Expand your Program Opportunities

How does your Outreach Committee fund its efforts? Many congregations allocate funds in their budgets to support their committees’ programming.  A line in a congregation’s budget means that committees can plan their programs in advance. While some programs and events may not have costs associated with them, other may require publicity, refreshments or a speaker’s honorarium. Some programs may support themselves through admissions, donations and sponsorships. A line in the budget may also mean that committees have the opportunity to advocate on their behalf to maintain or even increase their funding in future budgets.

Of course, when synagogues have to tighten their belts, the squeeze may be felt by committees in the form of decreased budget lines. While everyone is trying to do more with less these days, creative planning and funding may help your committee weather stormy financial times.

Congregations always have members who are passionate about a particular area of congregational life, and for many of them it may be Outreach. Perhaps their passion can be channeled into financial support for your Outreach programs. You or the staff may know of a few “angels” in the temple who can be counted upon to support special events and programs.

Major programs such as a guest speaker, author or film screening may offer an opportunity to raise funds. A guest author or speaker may be accompanied by a dinner or reception with the guest. When planning such function, consider offering members the opportunity to, for an additional donation, be a “sponsor” or “supporter” of the event. Many members will be happy to support the program in this way, especially if it means their names will be listed in the event’s program, they will be offered preferred seating or they will be invited  to a reception with the guest speaker or author.

Another option is to establish an Outreach Fund, to which people can donate. This will give the committee a degree of independence from the synagogues budget. It will also provide members with a way of celebrating and acknowledging special occasions and life cycle events. For example, what better way to celebrate someone’s conversion to Judaism than by a donation to the temple’s Outreach Fund? This month the URJ is highlighting its many Finance and Fundraising resources. To learn more about the establishment of funds for your congregation, consult our publication, Doing What is Just and Right: Endowments, Investments and Synagogue Funds, visit the URJ’s Finance page or, connect with one of our Finance Specialists, Rob Berkovitz or David Katowitz, to learn more.

A New URJ Outreach Brochure: Talking to Children about Jewish Identity in an Interfaith Family

We are excited to share with you our redesigned brochures to help you convey the important welcoming message of Outreach. They are now downloadable and easy to print and make copies.

These redesigned brochures are:

We are also excited to introduce a new pamphlet, Talking to Children About Jewish Identity in an Interfaith Family. Available as a downloadable document, this new brochure is an important tool for parents in interfaith families who are raising their children with a Jewish identity, as well as for interfaith couples still considering how they will raise their children. It offers helpful step-by-step suggestions for talking to children and members of the extended family about Jewish identity. It also offers information for interfaith families interested in participating in the Jewish community.

These pamphlets have been designed to be used as either black and white or one-color documents. You may download them and run them on a copy machine, or take to a local printer for duplication. The new pamphlets are now available from URJ Books and Music.

Where and how to use the pamphlets:

  • Place them in your temple and school offices, including Early Childhood Centers
  • Feature them on your Shabbat Shalom table
  • Add them to new member packets and make them available at potential member events
  • Make them available during parent/ teacher conferences and all religious school events
  • Have them on the table for workshops/programs that welcome members of your community
  • Have them available at adult education events. (Remember: your members probably have friends or children in interfaith relationships!)
  • Write an article for your temple bulletin about the content in these brochures
  • Write a short blurb with content from each one for your electronic newsletters.

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