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February 27, 2015 | 8th Adar 5775
Home  /  Congregations  /  Outreach  /  What is A TASTE OF JUDAISM®?  / 

Designed primarily for unaffiliated Jews, non-Jews, intermarried couples and adult children of intermarriage, A TASTE OF JUDAISM® is a free, three-week course for beginners, covering three topics in two hours each: Jewish Spirituality (God), Jewish Ethics (Torah) and Jewish Community (Israel). Since 1994, A TASTE OF JUDAISM® has engaged nearly 100,000 individuals searching for an easy access point to liberal Jewish life. Classes are advertised in the mainstream press as "open to all, Jewish or not."

We want you to think about making A TASTE OF JUDAISM® a permanent part of your URJ congregation's strategy for outreach to the local community, and we offer advertising grants to help jump-start this effort. This is a wonderful opportunity to take on the important mission of keiruv – actively reaching out to and welcoming those with an interest in Jewish life. "A TASTE OF JUDAISM® is one of the URJ's best tools for expanding our reach beyond the walls of our congregations," said URJ Senior Vice President Rabbi Jonah Pesner.

There are 3 ways that you can receive support to run A TASTE OF JUDAISM® in your area:

  1. Use URJ marketing and administrative resources: Offer A TASTE OF JUDAISM® and use congregational or local funding to pay for advertising. Let us know if you plan to offer A TASTE OF JUDAISM® in this way during the coming year by submitting this form. We are pleased to offer you a class listing on the web page, training for new instructors and class administrators, curriculum, access to A TASTE OF JUDAISM® administrative documents, and we will even produce your ads for you.

  2. Apply for a URJ advertising grant to help support your class. Every year in January-February, the URJ will open an application process for A TASTE OF JUDAISM® advertising grants. This year's application process has ended. Please check back in January 2015 for application information for grants for 2015-2016. Before applying, consider:
    • We will offer matching grants to reimburse up to two-thirds of your anticipated advertising costs (maximum $2200) plus a modest $300 honorarium for the instructor.
    • Congregations with 150 or fewer members and a total advertising budget of less than $2200 may be considered for full grant funding.
    • You may apply for grant funding if you have not received a URJ A TASTE OF JUDAISM® advertising grant within the past five years.
    • If you have received a URJ A TASTE OF JUDAISM® advertising grant in the past, you may reapply every five years. Among those applying for repeat funding, we will give preference to applications from congregations that have offered A TASTE OF JUDAISM® independently of URJ funding in the intervening years.
    • If your congregation shares an advertising market with and may be considered to serve the same target population as (an)other URJ congregation(s), we expect you to submit a joint grant application. Metro-area applicants of this nature may receive a larger grant, still not to exceed 2/3 of your proposed advertising budget. There are multiple ways you might collaborate to serve the surrounding community together and stretch your advertising dollars:
      1. Offer multiple classes in different neighborhoods on different nights of the week that begin within 1-2 weeks of each other – sharing advertising dollars and centralizing administrative responsibilities.
      2. Divide teaching responsibilities for a single class so that students have the opportunity to meet rabbis from multiple local congregations.
      3. Have a community conversation about offering A TASTE OF JUDAISM® in your metro area, and together decide to offer the class this year in fewer neighborhoods within your community.
      4. If you apply for a A TASTE OF JUDAISM® grant or wish to run a class in an area where URJ Introduction to Judaism classes are offered, you will be put in touch with the local Intro Coordinator to confer on scheduling, in order to offer participants the opportunity to continue their learning in the available Intro classes. Ideally, classes should conclude 2-4 weeks before a nearby Intro class begins.
    • While your congregation may incur additional expenses associated with running A TASTE OF JUDAISM® in your congregation, the URJ only reimburses 2/3 of advertising costs (maximum $2,200 per single site), and provides instructors with a modest honorarium. Please see Frequently Asked Questions for other potential costs. Grant monies will be given in the form of reimbursement against receipts. Should your congregation submit advertising receipts that do not add up to your full grant amount, you will only be reimbursed for 2/3 your total actual spent advertising dollars (and may not request reimbursement for other programmatic costs).

  3.  Apply for outside funding: The National Center to Encourage Judaism accepts requests for reimbursement of up to 50% (maximum $1250) of your advertising expenses, after the course concludes. If you receive an advertising grant from the URJ, you are eligible to apply for half of an NCEJ grant, or up to 25% of your advertising expenses (maximum $625). If you received an NCEJ grant in the previous year, your potential grant amount goes up to 60% or $1500 in the second year. Download the application for NCEJ funding here.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Fink at 212.452.6792 or

Learn more: Frequently Asked Questions about A TASTE OF JUDAISM®.

Download the Budget Worksheet for A TASTE OF JUDAISM® Applications.


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