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January 27, 2012

Union for Reform Judaism Weekly Briefing
Calendar | Subscribe | Donate | Find a Congregation | Press Room January 27, 2012 | 3 Sh'vat 5772

President Obama, shown speaking at a Middle East policy speech at the State Department. (Pete Souza / White House)

Obama assassination column raises question: Why do some Jews see Obama as so sinister?

By Uriel Heilman

While few Jewish critics of Barack Obama might go as far as the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times did in a recent column that included a passage about assassinating the president, it doesn’t take much looking to find Jewish detractors of Obama who believe he has sinister motives when it comes to the Jews and Israel. Read more »

See also:


eJewishPhilanthropy: Foundation for Jewish Camp Nadiv Program Moves Forward

Developed in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), Nadiv will create three new permanent positions for senior-level experiential Jewish educators who will toggle their responsibilities between Reform nonprofit Jewish summer camps and day or synagogue schools. Read more »

Jewish Exponent: Softening Hard Hearts? Portion Provides a Clue

The URJ's Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell gives her interpretation of this week's parashah: Parshat Bo describes both the birth-pangs of the Jewish people and the directions for future generations to remember that birth. Read more »

The Jewish Week: Once A Camper, Always A Camper

A new trend shows that Jewish organizations are increasingly looking to tap camp alumni talents and energies — not just their wallets — and put them at the service of the broader Jewish world. Read more »

Sun Sentinel: Tour promoting medicinal pot legalization among seniors makes synagogue stop Sunday

The Union for Reform Judaism has called for medicinal marijuana research and use under physician supervision. Read more »


Republicans -- and Democrats -- pitch to Florida's Jews

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are going into Florida swinging, but Barack Obama's campaign is a factor on the ground in the run-up to next week's primary. Read more »

Mystery swirls around Judaic manuscripts discovered in Afghanistan

It's nearly impossible to know who holds a trove of Jewish manuscripts recovered in Afghanistan, how much they are worth or how they were acquired. But everyone agrees they are of incalculable historic value. Read more »

At Sundance, view of Israel ranges from critical to abysmal

This year, it’s all pain and anguish for Israel fans at the Sundance Film Festival with "Five Broken Cameras" and "The Law in these Parts," two films that take a close look at Israel's presence in the West Bank. Read more »

Young Filipinos integrating into Israeli society, but not without difficulties

Young Filipinos are integrating into Israeli society, crafting identities that are similar yet distinct from those of the country’s Jewish majority. Read more »

Jewish day schools putting Apple iPads to the test

Two Jewish day schools are leading the charge in putting Apple's iPad to use in classrooms. Read more »


D'var Torah Bo:
From Save Me to Serve Me

Lucy H. F. Dinner discuss how Parashat Bo brings to light the philosophical connection in Judaism between redemption and service. Read more »

Sacred Conversations:
Pastor at a Yizkor Service

This poem by Mark Wendel reflects his complex feelings about his parents, his conversion and his father's memory. Read more »

Jewish Disability Awareness Month is a Call to Action

Shelly Christensen discusses the meaning behind Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM), which is observed in February. Read more »

Please note: Throughout the month of February, the URJ will highlight resources related to JDAM and Caring Communities.


Spotlight on: The Campaign for Youth EngagementSpotlight:
The Campaign for Youth Engagement (CYE)

This month the URJ highlights the Movement's plan to dramatically improve the ability of Reform institutions to involve young people in meaningful Jewish life and strengthen post-b'nei mitzvah engagement and retention in synagogues, day schools, camps, and youth programs throughout North America. Read more»

The Campaign for Youth Engagement: Jonathan Stein

Campaign for Youth Engagement Video:

Alison Kur, Executive Director of Jewish Living, at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, MA, defines the Campaign for Youth Engagement's approach to engaging youth and families. View the video »

Youth Professionals Now Have Their Own Association!

Providing youth professionals training, networking and ongoing educationa and collaboration, RYPA will create and support a cadre of talented professionals. Read more »

Do We Have the Courage for a Real Tikkun for our Teens?

Craig Parks discusses the importance of investing in the training, development, respect, and support for career youth professionals in order to have a deep transformation in teen engagement. Read more »

Join the CYE's Early
Engagement Pilot

Explore how to cultivate the relationships necessary to engage young families in congregational life. Read more »

Priority Status for FREE Kesher Taglit-Birthright Israel Trips

Pre-Registration for Returning Applicants Feb. 14; Registration Opens Feb. 15.
KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel is a free trip for 18-26 year olds who have not previously traveled to Israel. Sign up for the Early Update List for important registration news, and send your name and email addresses to for priority status on spring and summer trips. Read more »

There's Something for Everyone at URJ Camps

Know kids that are looking to specialize in a specific sport, hone their artistic skills in various media, or spend most of the summer climbing, hiking or on canoeing trips? Tell them about URJ Camps' specialty programs! Read more »

Parenting Podcast:
Helicopter Parents Versus a Helicopter View of Parenting

Psychologist Richard Weissbourd explains the difference between being a "helicopter parent" and taking a helicopter view of parenting. Read more »


URJ's Tu BiSh'vat Resources

In a few weeks we will be celebrating Tu BiSh'vat, on February 8. Here are a variety of resources to consider in your planning. Read more »

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