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March 9, 2012

Union for Reform Judaism Weekly Briefing
Calendar | Subscribe | Donate | Find a Congregation | Press Room March 9, 2012 | 15 Adar 5772

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama meet on Mar. 5, 2012 in the White House Oval Office. (Ron Kampeas)

Obama and Netanyahu disagree, in private and in public

By Ron Kampeas

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama can't get on the same page about Iran -- and their divisions keep spilling into public view. Read more »

See also:


State of Belief:
The Origins of the Language of War

Rabbi Eric Yoffie discusses the language-of-war phenomenon on the State of Belief show with Reverend Welton Gaddy. Read more »

Daily Oklahoman: Edmond teenager elected to lead Jewish youth organization

Evan Traylor, 17, was elected national president of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) on Feb. 19 at the organization's national board meeting in Utica, Miss. Read more »

See also: Edmond Sun: Memorial senior will lead nat'l youth group

Jerusalem Post: Israeli Reform
rabbis beg Obama to free Pollard

The Israeli Council of Progressive (Reform) Rabbis recently drafted an emotional letter to US President Barack Obama pleading with him to release Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard. Read more »

Ynet: MK Eichler:
Reform Jews anti-Semites

UTJ Knesset member blasts Reform Movement reps presenting women's exclusion report for being 'anti-Semites'; finds himself removed from meeting over 'unacceptable behavior. Read more »

The Jewish Week: Houston's Champions

The yeshiva found itself supported by NBA insiders such as ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, Texas elected officials, sports columnists, cheering girls with surnames of Gomez and Valdespino, rival schools and the Union for Reform Judaism. Read more »

See also: Beren comes up short in tourney, but stands firm on larger principles

Huffington Post: Who Is Kony?

Noah Fitzgerel, a NFTY teen, writes about the Invisible Children, a group that raises awareness about atrocities committed in Uganda. Fitzgerel first learned about the Invisible Children at NFTY Convention. Read more »

See also: NFTY-MARite blogs about Invisible Children Campaign

NJ Jewish News: Helping Jewish
teenagers grow through service

By urging them to give back, URJ Camp Harlam alumna, Leah Weiss, aims to engage local youth. Read more »

Sierra Club: One Activist's Vision
Becomes Community Article of Faith

Longtime Sierra Club member Jan Freed of Los Angeles has for years been making efforts to conserve energy and reduce his environmental footprint. But the former high school science teacher had a larger vision: that his synagogue, Temple Sinai in Glendale, California, go solar. Read more »

See also: B'nai Israel Reform Temple of Oakdale and EmPower Solar unveil 56 kW Solar System

The Jewish Week: Hungary For Judaism

"The Torah's words were familiar: 'V'asu li mikdash, v'shachanti b'tocham.' And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them. This verse from Exodus 25:8 took on entirely new meaning as I sat, Shabbat morning, in a Reform service in Budapest, Hungary." Read more »

The Forward: Author Blog:
Finding My Religion

"The first thing we decided to do was learn about Judaism together. We signed up for a four month Union for Reform Judaism course. I joked that I could teach it, but once it started I was surprised at how little I already knew." Read more »

The Jewish Week: Glass Ceiling Shatters
at New York Board Of Rabbis

Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman, also the first female rabbi to serve at Congregation Emanu-El and the first female spiritual leader of the Reform Union Temple in Brooklyn, where she now serves, will officially become the first female president of the New York Board of Rabbis. Read more »

Cleveland Jewish News: Looking back (and forward) at Women of Reform Judaism

Women of Reform Judaism national President Lynn Magid Lazar said she could not have picked a better time to lead the almost 100-year-old organization. Read more »


No surprises in Putin victory, but question for Russian Jews is what comes next

The question for Russia going forward is whether Vladimir Putin will crack down on protesters or whether the newly empowered opposition constituency will be able to wring some concessions from their old-new president. Read more »

One-state conference at Harvard signifies possible new front in campus Israel wars

Activists and academics came together over the weekend to talk about how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a colonizer-settler relationship. Read more »


Reflections from the Road: First in an Occasional Series

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is on a trip across North America to meet with Reform Jews in their schools, sanctuaries, homes and social halls. He shares reflections on the first few visits. Read more »

See also: Beth Chayim Chadashim: URJ President Honors BCC's 40th Year

Purim in Israel

There is nothing that could have prepared me for Purim in Israel. I quickly learned that the Purim celebrations in Israel are similar to those at home, but even grander. Read more »

D'var Torah Ki Tisa - The Gift

The Sabbath, as a weekly source for renewing those unique divine gifts, has the potential to unlock the culture that marches us to the incessant beat of the drummer to turn every person into a superlative in every area. Read more »

Early Childhood Education

Spotlight: Early Childhood Education

This month, the URJ highlights Early Childhood Education resources and the Movement's efforts to help congregations reach today's families with young children. Read more »

Experts Address Challenges of Reaching Today's Families with Young Children

View three informative and inspiring Early Childhood Engagement presentations from the 2011 URJ Biennial including:

  • Magic Formula: Meeting the Needs of Today’s Families with Young Children
  • Great Good Place: How Your Congregation Can Become THE PLACE That Draws People In
  • “It’s not just the economy impacting your preschool”

What I Learned at Nursery School

The future of our Movement will depend on drawing young families and their children through the doors of our synagogues and into warm and welcoming congregational communities... Help ensure this future by contributing to the Fund for Engagement of Jewish Families of Young Children. Read more »

Family Engagement is
More Than a Program

By engaging families at early stages in their
development and in their relationship with the synagogue and reconnecting at each milestone along the way, we go beyond the usual series of programs to create children and entire families who are invested, connected, and involved. Read more on Page 4 in Torah at the Center »

The Mitzvah Adventures of
Benny the Bear at B'nai Jeshurun
in Short Hills

When Benny the Mitzvah Bear arrived in Short HIlls New Jersey, the children in our Kindergarten class were beyond excited. They had been expecting this special visitor and were well prepared for his arrival. Read more »


Tornado Relief

Deadly tornadoes recently swept through the Midwest and southern United States, leaving behind dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries and structural damage to many homes and cities. URJ recommends contributions be made to these local partners: Nechama and the Jewish Community of Louisville. Read more »

See also: Helping the Tornado Victims in Illinois

Parenting Podcast:
Umbrellas and Boulders: Independence vs. Interdependence

Rabbi Edie Mencher discusses the need to balance teaching children independence and teaching them that there is no shame in asking for help when you need it. Read more »

URJ Books and Music:
20% off on Seder Songs
Seder Songs

Seder Songs features 22 fantastic tunes for the Passover seder including traditional Ashkenazic and Sephardic melodies, as well as new songs from today's hottest artists. The songbook includes sheet music and two CDs--one with complete songs and another in sing-along format. Get 20% off by using coupon code  SederSongs at checkout. Read more »

From HUC-JIR: The Book of Purim

In this fun-filled parody of The Book of Mormon, HUC-JIR Year-In-Israel students tell the story of Mordechai's fortitude and faith, as well as Esther's feminist courage, in rescuing the Jewish people from their dire fate.

Observe Jubilee Shabbat
to Focus on Global Poverty

Set aside the weekend of May 18-19 to pray, reflect, study and act around the issues of global inequality and poverty. Read more »

Reform Judaism Magazine:
Rabbi & President:
The Path to Partnership

Congregational rabbis and presidents and experts discuss innovative ways of creating a sacred partnership between rabbi and temple president grounded in respect, cooperation and purpose. Read more »

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