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March 16, 2012

Union for Reform Judaism Weekly Briefing
Calendar | Subscribe | Donate | Find a Congregation | Press Room March 16, 2012 | 22 Adar 5772

Israel's Iron Dome defense system near the Israeli town of Ashdod has intercepted a volley of rockets fired by terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip area, March 11, 2012. (Flash90)

Netanyahu pledges decisive response as rockets slam southern Israel

By Marcy Oster

As southern Israel was barraged by rockets for a fourth straight day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was hitting back "strongly and decisively," and its Iron Dome anti-missile defense system was intercepting many of the rockets coming from the Gaza Strip. Read more »

See also:


Rabbi Jacobs: Iran's Looming Threat

Rabbi Rick Jacobs discusses the realities of the threat of a nuclear Iran and some points where all Reform Jews, regardless of political affiliation, can unite. Read more »

See also : After Bibi's U.S. visit, question remains: What's Israel's next step on Iran?

New York Times: The Officiant Among Us

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president-elect of the URJ noted that a clergy member can provide counseling based on years of experience. “Your best friend is not somebody who’s going to counsel a couple about the hard parts of creating a deep bond,” he said. Read more »

Huffington Post: Kids With Autism at a Synagogue on Purim? Not a Prayer, Right?

I celebrated the Jewish holiday Purim last week at my synagogue, Roseph Sholom. And Purim, along with a host of other Jewish holidays, will never be the same for me. Though I attend services at my synagogue regularly, it has never once occurred to me to bring along my older son, who has austism. Read more »

Rodeph Sholom's special needs services were made possible in part by a URJ Incubator Grant.

Jerusalem Post: Groups petitions
court over anti-boycott law

A coalition of nine human and civil rights groups filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Monday, asking the court to annul the "Boycott Law," dubbing it a "price tag on legitimate political statements." Read more »

The Jewish Chronicle: American Synagogue Faces Revolution

"If you look at the history of American synagogues, there have been several time periods where the synagogues looked radically different," said Rabbi Daniel Freelander, senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Read more »

eJewishPhilanthropy: Reach Beyond the Bunk: Leaders Assembly 2012

Over 650 attended the Foundation for Jewish Camp Leaders Assembly. Symbolizing the "beyond-the-bunk" theme, only 40% were camping professionals - the rest were comprised of lay leaders, Jewish professionals and others who care deeply about Jewish camp and its future. Read more »
See also:

Cleveland Jewish News: Fairmount
holds 'Summer Camp Day'

The curriculum we use from the Union for Reform Judaism is based on the teaching that 'the world stands on three things: Torah, Avodah and gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness.) Read more »

Jewish Chronicle: The future of ... women

While Jewish leaders -- both clergy and lay -- were overwhelmingly men 30 years ago, gender roles have shifted dramatically. And the effects of that shift can be felt from the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem, to liberal American congregations. Read more »

Tablet: Frank Talk

Although Rabbi Helga Newmark survived the horrors of the Holocaust, a childhood slight—from Anne Frank—stayed with her for the rest of her life. Read more »


Seeking Kin: Ohio man born in the Shoah’s shadow searches for answers
about his past

A man who was raised in suburban Boston by adoptive parents but born to a mother who was in a displaced persons' camp in Germany is searching for information that will shed light on his past. Read more »

Israelis warned of imminent attack
in Turkey

Israelis have been warned against traveling to Turkey in light of intelligence that terrorists are planning an attack against Israelis or Jewish targets in the coming days. Read more »

Volunteer Jewish security team
to launch in Canada

Canada's Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is forming a volunteer network to provide security at Canadian synagogues and Jewish community facilities. Read more »

Israel's Cabinet approves plan
to empower women

Israel's Cabinet approved a plan to increase the participation of women in municipal government. Read more »


D'var Torah Vayak'heil/P'kudei: Becoming a Civilization

In these culminating portions of Exodus the Israelites demonstrate their growth as a people with their solid commitment to completing the Tabernacle. Read more »

See also: One Mishkan, One State of Israel

A Tree Grows in Beit Shemesh

Anat Hoffman writes, "The violence we saw in Beit Shemesh has created an opportunity for collaboration. IRAC is working with these women, who are all Orthodox, to help them combat the religious extremism that is taking over their city." Read more »

Holding on and Letting Go

Rabbi Rex Perlmeter blogs about how hard it can be to choose life, goodness and hope when we feel that everything is outside of our control. Read more »

Love in the Movement:
I Found My Wife in Warwick

In 2004, I was invited to serve as visiting faculty at the Kutz Camp, little did I know that returning to Kutz, my home for four summers in the 1980s, would result in the biggest changes in my life. Read more »

See also: Stories and photos of others who met their loves in the Movement


Passover Resources

Passover begins at sundown on April 6.Matzah? Check. Seder plate? Check. URJ Resources? Check. Read more »

New Rituals for Your Seder

Pesach rituals vary from community to community around the world and from family to family within a community. There is plenty of room for individualized ritual at the seder. Read more »

Do you have to serve
wine at a seder?

Kiddush is less about the wine and more about the ritual, which symbolizes joy and celebration of the day Read more »

URJ Books and Music:
Passage to Pesach: Preparing for Passover through Text and Tradition
Passage to Pesach

Discover your own place in the rich Pesach tradition by reflecting on countless Jewish customs. For individual or group study. Get 10% off the book at checkout by using Coupon Code: PTP.Read more »

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

Seder Songs features 22 traditional and new songs for the seder. 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 »

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 »

CHAI Early Childhood Parent Education Materials

Includes nine complete 90-minute lessons designed to help parents create a Jewish home and nurture their child's Jewish identity. Read more »

Jewish Early Childhood Outdoor Education Conference

July 22-24: Reisterstown, MD
Join teachers, administrators, rabbis and congregants to learn about outdoor education. Read more »

NJ Online: Parents and kids learn about Shabbat together
with Jews Clues

This year, Temple Sholom of Fanwood/Scotch Plains offers a new twist on its popular Jews Clues program. The new “Celebration Series,” designed for children ages 2 to 4, explores holidays, stories and traditions through play, music, arts and crafts. Read more »


Get Out the Vote 2012 Guide

The RAC's Get Out the Vote 2012 Guide provides your congregation with tools, resources and information to plan a successful voter engagement effort in advance of Election Day. Read more »

Debatable: May Non-Jews Recite Any Blessing from the Bimah?

Rabbi Elliot Strom and Rabbi Arnold S. Gluck weigh on this question. What is your view? "Vote Your View" and be counted in poll results published in the next edition of Reform Judaism magazine. Read more »

National Day of Unplugging

March 23-24: The National Day of Unplugging is a respite from the relentless deluge of technology and information. Read more »

Reform Israel Shabbat

April 27-28: Support and celebrate Israel in your community and with the rest of North America. Read more »

The Redemption of Ulysses S. Grant

As a Union general, Grant expelled Jews from his war zone; but as U.S. president, he set a new national tone that helped usher in a brief "golden age" in the history of the American Jewish community. Read more »

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