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February 24, 2012

Union for Reform Judaism Weekly Briefing
Calendar | Subscribe | Donate | Find a Congregation | Press Room February 24, 2012 | 1 Adar 5772
Incoming NFTY board members

Incoming NFTY board members, Evan Traylor, Jordan Rodnizki, Joy Nemerson, Jacob Georginow and Marlee Ribnick.

Meet the New NFTY Board

by Beth Avner

Learn about the newly selected NFTY Study and Action Themes and meet the new 2012-2013 NFTY North American Board. Read more »

REFORM MOVEMENT
IN THE NEWS

NJ Jewish News: Federation recognized for synagogue relations

Times of Israel: The Reform Movement and AIPAC

"In the Reform movement, support for Israel is increasing both qualitatively and quantitatively. There is both more advocacy going on and better advocacy going on." Read more »

jWeekly: A progressive approach to strengthening Jewish life around the world

"The world today is dividing rapidly between those who, on the one hand, dismiss religion as foolishness and fairy tales, and fundamentalist fanatics on the other." Read more »

See also:

JUF provides $332,000 to pluralistic programs in Israel

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks has been recognized for "meritorious cooperation and mutual support" in the furtherance of Outstanding Federation-Synagogue Partnerships by the Union for Reform Judaism. Read more »

News & Observer: Jewish synagogue opposes marriage amendment

"We believe that this is a matter of civil rights and basic fairness," stated the board of trustees of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, NC. Read more »

See also:

A Welcome Achievement of Marriage Equality in Washington State

Jewish Exponent: Seeking Sanctuary From World's Cacophony

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell ponders this week's parashah and asks, "How can we create sacred spaces in our hearts and our lives, sanctuaries that enable us to find some respite from the tumult and demands of the world?" Read more »

Reform Jewish Leader Criticizes One-Sided Contraception Hearings

Rabbi David Saperstein: "The government has a compelling interest of the first order in ensuring that all individuals are able to access necessary services." Read more »

JTA: Interfaith coalition urges candidates to eschew religious division

Fifteen religious organizations, including the Union for Reform Judaism, issued an Interfaith Statement of Principles advising the candidates to abide by principles of religious liberty and avoid religious discord as they campaign for the November race. Read more »

JEWISH WORLD NEWS

As Syria crackdown intensifies, debate rages over U.S. options

As the Syrian government intensifies its assault on opposition strongholds, the debate is heating up in Washington over how to end the bloody crackdown and bring about regime change. Read more »

Palestinian Khader Adnan tests limits of Israel's system of military detention

The case of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian detainee who galvanized Palestinian and some Israeli and international support with his 66-day hunger strike, has ignited a debate in Israel about the issue of administrative detention. Read more »

Effort to change U.S. red line on Iran has Senate Dems worried about war

A Senate resolution calls on the Obama administration to make Iran's capability to build a nuclear weapon a red line -- but the response of some Democrats highlights anxieties over the possibility of military conflict. Read more »

Alan Gross revelations could hamper campaign for his release

Revelations of the alleged lengths that U.S. contractor Alan Gross went to to help Cuban Jews have both galvanized and worried those campaigning for his release from a Cuban prison, where he is serving a 15-year sentence. Read more »

In Japan, Israelis bring trauma expertise to tsunami victims

Israeli volunteers are bringing their hard-earned experience treating victims of trauma to areas devastated by last year's Japanese tsunami. Read more »

Thanks to financial aid, Jewish summer camp enrollments rise, despite economy

With new studies suggesting that the Jewish camp experience is a key component in boosting Jewish identity, it shouldn’t be considered expendable, say champions of camp. Read more »

With another film in Oscar contention, Israeli cinema shows it can compete

Israeli films once lacked the luster and high production values necessary to compete internationally. But with a string of prizes from international festivals, and a regular presence at the Academy Awards, those days are clearly over. Read more »

DISCUSS ON THE BLOG

I Am How I Eat

Rabbi Rex Perlmeter explores ways to be mindful of eating, and how doing so turns every meal into an opportunity for greater awareness of self, the world and spirituality. Read more »

Judaism: Fresh is Best

Matzah ball soup, Yiddish and black hats are iconic in Judaism. But how much do they really have to do with being Jewish? Read more »

D'var Torah T'rumah:
God's Place in Communal Space

Parashat T'rumah contains instructions for building the Tabernacle, and evokes strong reactions in a study group. It is an issue as relevant today as it was in ancient times. Read more »

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
March 6: Lessons Learned From Camp...For the Congregational Setting
March 13: Torah Alive: Esther's Fast - Her Act of Self-Empowerment

HOLIDAY RESOURCES

Purim Resources

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

The Meaning in the Music
of the Megillah

Read some of the fascinating story behind how we chant parts of the Megillah. Read more »

URJ Books and Music:
Purim Books for Kids! The Purim Costume

URJ Books and Music offers a discount on two Purim books for kids. Here Come the Purim Players! and The Purim Costume. 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.

Being in a Caring Community
Like Camp...

Rabbi Edie Mencher was amazed when her child demonstrated what a caring, close-knit community camp created. It raises the question and raises the bar: can we achieve the same for our youth outside of camp? Read more »

A Family's Healing Journey

After discovering that a family member has a disability, it takes time to adjust and heal. Sharona Silverman wanted a way to draw on the support of her congregation during this process, so she created a healing ceremony for herself and her family. Read more »

Being Present for Each Other

More than ten years ago, a car accident put Rabbi Lynn Landsberg in a coma and left her with traumatic brain injury. The community was there to support her and her family, and she recounts the things that were most helpful to them in the aftermath. Read more »

A Jewish Camp Experience for Everyone: URJ Camp Chazak

Learn more about Camp Chazak, which gives kids with special needs the opportunity to have a Reform Jewish camp experience at URJ's Eisner and Crane Lake Camps. Read more »

Dream Street Mississippi Changes Lives of Campers and Jewish Teens

Read how being teen counselors for URJ's Camp Dream Street, a week-long residential camp for children with physical disabilities, impacted the career paths of these NFTY alumni. Read more »

UNION NEWS

Black History Month:
A Chance to Reflect on
History of Blacks and Jews

Communities are honoring Black History Month this Feburary and noting the Reform Movement's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Using materials, guides, and resources, weave tikkun olam into your congregations' observance. Read more »

Parenting Podcast: Step-Parenting through Bike Helmets

"My guiding principle was this: As I strive to help Ben grow and develop into the man he will be, I must not let anything bad happen to him on my watch." Read more »

Apply Now for an Incubator Grant!

Just four days 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 »

Schindler Fellows Membership Certification Program

April 19-22, 2012, Cleveland, OH
Four days of comprehensive training in all aspects of membership: recruitment, integration and retention. Limited scholarships are available. Read more »

Scheidt Seminar for
Congregational Presidents

April 26-29, 2012, Atlanta, GA
Registration is now open for the 14th annual Scheidt Seminar, a training institute for congregational presidents and presidents-elect. Participants will hone skills in community building and synagogue management. Read more »

Roswell Seminar for Social Justice

July 22 - August 1, 2012, Israel
Join the World Union for Progressive Judaism's Saltz International Educational Center’s intensive 10-day program to explore the issues of religion and the state of Israel and engage in social action projects. Participation in the seminar is open to people who are active in their home communities in social action and tikkun olam. Read more »


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