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March 5, 2015 | 14th Adar 5775

December 23, 2011

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the incoming president of the Union for Reform Judaism, with his family at the Movement's Biennial conference outside Washington, Dec. 17, 2011. (URJ)

New Reform Jewish leader promises revitalization

By Lauren Markoe

Jacobs, 56, talks in the boldest of terms when he promises to open the doors of Reform Judaism — which has already taken pioneering steps to welcome gay Jews, interfaith families and the disabled — even wider. Read more »

Below are just some of the press clips from the Biennial. Visit this page to read more clips.

URJ Biennial December 14-18, 2011

2011 URJ Biennial Highlights

The 6,000 attendees at the URJ's 71st Biennial conference near Washington, DC - the largest URJ Biennial ever - heard from national and international leaders and saw a historic changeover of leadership. Visit this page to see webcasts of the major plenary sessions, speeches and news clips.

The URJ recommitted itself to cultivating the next generation through the Campaign for Youth Engagement and announced a new emphasis on reaching North American Jews both inside and outside the walls of its congregations.

See also: Union for Reform Judaism Launches Campaign for Youth Engagement; Names Rabbi Bradley Solmsen as Director

Online Media

Biennial Photostream on Flickr

2011 URJ Biennial Playlist on Youtube

Visit the Biennial website for all Biennial news and information.

Jewish World News

For Jews, Vaclav Havel wasn't just a friend but a champion of freedom

Vaclav Havel was a friend of the Jews and of Israel, but prominent Jews who mourned his passing this week said the Czech leader’s greatest legacy was his universal message of freedom. Read more »

What's daily life like for Palestinians in Israeli prisons?

Israel's treatment of its Palestinian prisoners is closely watched and sometimes criticized by Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, but Israel supporters argue that the treatment reflects well on Israel and contrasts sharply with how Israeli captives have been treated by Palestinians. Read more »

Attacks by radical settlers on Israeli army spark debate

Attacks by radical West Bank settlers on the Israeli army have sparked intense debate over how best to combat lawlessness in the West Bank. Read more »

Obama administration gets some of the leeway it sought in new Iran sanctions

New sanctions targeting Iran’s financial sector and its sale of crude give President Obama leeway to moderate their possible impact on oil markets and to use carrots as well as sticks to sway third parties into isolating the Islamic Republic. Read more »

Spotlight on: Interfaith Families Spotlight On: Interfaith Families

In December, the URJ will highlight resources to help congregations welcome and support interfaith members. Read more »

Contact the URJ Outreach Specialists Rabbi Victor Appell, Arlene Chernow, Stephanie Fink and Lead Outreach Specialist Vicky Farhi with any questions about Outreach to interfaith families.

Parenting Podcast: Interfaith Parenting

In this week's parenting podcast, Dr. Paula Brody explains the issues that interfaith couples face as they make decisions about the religious identity of their children and their family as a whole. Read more »

The Lights of Chanukah

Rabbi Zachary Shapiro declares about Chanukah: "It's not about how big lights and massive decorations make our lives beautiful. It's about how the smallest light can make a difference." Read more »

Welcoming Interfaith Families: A Cantor's Perspective

Cantor Regina Lambert-Hayut discusses ways to honor all parents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and how to help find roles for them in congregational life that are both meaningful and comfortable. Read more »

Holiday Resources

URJ Biennial December 14-18, 2011


Chanukah began at sundown on Dec. 20 / 24 Kislev

Chanukah Holiday Happenings

Ideas to make Chanukah more meaningful and fun for tots. Read more »

Let us do your Chanukah shopping for you!

A summer at a URJ Camp, NFTY Mitzvah Corps or NFTY in Israel program is the perfect gift. Register your child now and give them the gift that will last for years to come. Read more »

Chanukah Today: The new Holiday Songbook Digital DownloadChanukah Today: The new Holiday Songbook Digital Download

Featuring songs from world-renowned artists from inside and outside the Jewish music scene, this dynamic collection is a breath of fresh air that will infuse some of the "festive" back into your Festival of Lights. Read more »

The Jewish Commitment to Religious Liberty from the Maccabees to Present Day

Molly Benoit reminds us that story of Chanukah is a story "of the precious religious liberty that was denied to the Jews under King Antiochus and which Americans are so thankfully guaranteed by the First Amendment." Read more »

Union News

Machon Kaplan Social Action Summer Internship Program is Now Free!

Deadline: Feb. 3. As part of the URJ's Campaign for Youth Engagement, the Machon Kaplan Internship, a six-week work/study internship program for college students based out of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is FREE. From June 10-July 22, 2012, college students will experience real-world public policy work and learn about Judaism and social justice. The program provides housing and college academic credits. Read more »

Accessibility for All

URJ Congregational Representative Kate Bigam reminds us that there is more work to be done to ensure that our congregations are accessible to all. Read more »

D'Var Torah: Mikeitz: Cycles of Abundance

Elizabeth Dunsker discusses the important lesson from this week's parashah about using treasure for the benefit of others. Read more »


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