Skip Navigation
February 28, 2015 | 9th Adar 5775

February 17, 2012

Union for Reform Judaism Weekly Briefing
Calendar | Subscribe | Donate | Find a Congregation | Press Room February 17, 2012 | 24 Sh'vat 5772
President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius

President Barack Obama, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius behind him, announces a new health care policy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

How Jewish groups became involved in the contraception coverage debate

By Ron Kampeas

As the debate over contraception coverage raged, Jewish leaders at times wondered how they became so involved. Read more »


JTA Op-Ed: Medicaid reforms
need not undermine vital services

The Jewish community sees a number of effective ways that Medicaid can be reformed while realizing cost savings and maintaining vital services for disabled people, write Rabbi David Saperstein and William Daroff. Read more »

Remembering Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut

The URJ mourns the passing of Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, z"l. Learn more about the life, work, and monumental influence of this great scholar, read remembrances, and share your own. Read more »

See also:

The Jewish Week: L'Dor V'Dor:
Honoring Our Oldest Generations

In our rush to cater to young families and to place important and necessary resources in our religious schools, we must also devote time to nourishing our oldest, longest term members. Read more »


After New Delhi attack, fears that Iran-Israel attacks could escalate

If Iran manages to kill Israelis in an attack overseas, it could invite an escalated response from Israel. Read more »

In Israel, economic concerns mount, but unclear which party will benefit

Israeli elections have rarely hinged on socioeconomic issues. Barring a major security flare-up -- like an attack on Iran -- that may be changing. Read more »

Threats to cut Egypt assistance could impact Israel, U.S. influence in Mideast

If U.S. aid to Egypt is cut amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Cairo, a crucial lever of U.S. influence in the region would be gone, with implications not just for Israel-Egypt relations but for America's ability to contain Iran. Read more »

New European Jewish parliament riles existing European Jewish leaders

Are intergroup rivalries or genuine concerns behind the effort by European Jewish leaders to discredit the "Jewish parliament" launching this week in Brussels and backed by two Ukrainian Jewish moguls? Read more »

Ahead of French elections, Sarkozy makes pitch to Jews

French Jewish support for President Nicolas Sarkozy outpaces that of non-Jewish French, but with the country's economy stumbling and some Jews less than thrilled with his record on the Middle East, he may not find the same kind of backing among Jews from when he ran in 2007. Read more »

Great-grandson of Auschwitz victims taking the ice for Germany

More than 65 years ago, Evan Kaufmann's great-grandparents were murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Now he is taking the ice for the German national hockey team. Read more »


Religious But Not Spiritual

Rabbi Eric Yoffie asserts the need for religion over spirituality, "there is no substitute for religion of the organized sort. Spirituality is a day trip, while religion is a journey." Read more »

D'var Torah Mishpatim:
Charity Begins at Home

It has been said that "charity begins at home," but it doesn't end there. In performing acts of loving-kindness among our inner circles, we build an outlook and perspective that will be reflected in every individual action and interaction in the world. Read more »

President's Budget Proposal Reflects Tough Choices; Pleases and Disappoints

Rabbi David Saperstein says: "In crafting his budget, President Obama has made many difficult choices, reflecting the trying times of our day. Not surprisingly, we are pleased by some of the choices and disappointed by others." Read more »


Purim Resources

Purim begins at sundown on March 7. Here are a variety of resources to consider in your planning. Read more »

Purim and M'gillat Esther

On one level, M’gillat Esther is a simple story whose meaning appears to be obvious. Yet as we explore the text more closely...It is filled with references to power and violence, sexual improprieties and anti-Semitism. Read more »

URJ Books and Music Offers Discount on Esther: A Modern CommentaryEsther: A Modern Commentary

Rabbis Kravitz and Olitzky shed new light on this familiar story by combining traditional rabbinic views and contemporary literary criticism to create a readable and relevant commentary. Receive 10% off the book at checkout by using Coupon Code: Purim10.
Read more »

Communities of Caring & Connection

Spotlight: Communities of Caring & Connection

This month, the URJ highlights Caring Community resources, including the Caring Community 101 guides and resources for Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Read more »

Connect with a Caring Communities Specialist

Member congregations are encouraged to contact Rabbi Edythe Held Mencher from the Union's Congregational Consulting Group for additional resources and support.

Highlights from the blog

URJ Camp Programs and Israel Trips for Teens with Special Needs

The URJ Camp and Israel Programs are committed to providing a Reform Jewish summer experience to all children, including those with special needs. Read more »

See also:


Apply Now for an Incubator Grant!

Just two weeks left to apply for a URJ Incubator Grant! The URJ is offering up to $5,000 to help launch creative projects for actively attracting new people to Reform synagogue life. Applications due February 28. Read more »

Small Congregations Kallot

March 24-25 in Sacramento, CA
May 4-5- Lake Charles, LA
May 11-12 in South Bend, IN
June 16 in Harrisburg, PA
Join other members from small congregations to study together, network with like-minded lay leaders and learn from a vibrant community of committed learners and knowledgeable teachers. Topics include leadership development, finances and outreach. Read more »

URJ and Ramah Camps in First-Ever Program Partnership to Build Specialist Staff Training

A grant of $144,000 from the AVI CHAI Foundation will fund the creation of a series of training programs for summer camp specialists. Read more »

College students and graduates can spend a year in Israel for just $500!

Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv and Jaffa: work with Israelis directly on the ground in communities in need, foster coexistence, study Hebrew and Arabic, and live in a close community of dedicated peers. Read more »

WUPJ Statement on the On-going Murders in Syria

The World Union for Progressive Judaism, speaking on behalf its 1.8 million members, is outraged and appalled by the on-going murders in Syria of its own citizens, perpetrated by the Government and President of Syria. Read more »

Biennial Recap

Don't miss Mama Doni from ShalomTV's Interviews of Biennial attendees!

Upcoming URJ Webinars

Feb. 28: Creating a Jewish Teen Foundation: A New Approach to Engagement
Feb. 29: A New Machzor: A Mystery No More, Part 2
March 1: Fighting Hunger One School at a Time: Backpack Buddies

Support Reform JudaismJoin us on Facebook!Follow us on Twitter!

© Union for Reform Judaism
633 Third Avenue • New York, NY • 10017

To unsubscribe from this e-mail, please send a note to Please know that the Union for Reform Judaism does not sell, market or distribute e-mail addresses (see the privacy policy at

Comments left on this website are monitored. By posting a comment you are in agreement with Terms & Conditions.

Donate Now

Union for Reform Judaism


Multimedia Icon Multimedia:  Photos  |  Videos  |  Podcasts  |  Webinars
Bookmark and Share About Us  |  Careers  |  Privacy Policy
Copyright Union for Reform Judaism 2015.  All Rights Reserved


We are currently experiencing technical difficulties and couldn't complete your request. We apologize for the inconvenience and should have the problem resolved shortly.