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August 21, 2014 | 25th Av 5774

Call to Action: Putting the Plan into Motion at the 2011 Biennial

During the 2011 URJ Biennial, the Campaign for Youth Engagement took full flight when the Biennial body participated in a Call To Action, a series of Movement-wide commitments to the Jewish future.
Read a draft of the Campaign for Youth Engagement Call to Action Executive Summary.

Read the Campaign for Youth Engagement Resolution: A 2020 Vision, which was approved by the Biennial body.

We are at a crossroads. Our Jewish communities are full of dedicated and creative lay people and professionals who successfully engage many youth and families. And yet research tells us that if current trends continue in our congregations, approximately 80% of the children who become b'nei mitzvah will have no connection of any kind to their synagogue by the time they reach 12th grade. And, even fewer will live their lives as actively engaged Jews.

What if we could reverse that trend? What if teens and their families found relevance, community, and purpose in their Jewish connections? How would our Jewish lives – now and in the future – be changed? The future is in our hands.

In 1,000 grassroots conversations with teens, educators, rabbis, youth workers, cantors, administrators, and lay leaders about what engages teens and what does not, one theme clearly stood out: building meaningful relationships and a dynamic and engaged Jewish community is essential for youth and their families to commit to Jewish life.

Through people, partnerships, and pathways, and making this campaign priority number one, we will chart a new and transformational course for the relationships between post-b'nei mitzvah teens, their peers, their families, their congregations, the Reform Movement, and the Jewish people as a whole.

Youth
  • The expansion of affordable and accessible immersion experiences for Jewish youth
  • The diffusion of exemplary congregational and communal efforts to engage Jewish youth
  • The collection, analysis and sharing of data relevant to the recruitment, retention and involvement of Jewish youth in Jewish life

Youth Professionals
  • The creation and nurturing of a profession for adults who devote themselves to Jewish youth
  • The elevation of kavod (status) for adults who work with Jewish youth
  • The participation of increasing numbers of adults who teach, mentor and support Jewish youth in the HUC-JIR Certificate in Jewish Education with a Specialization in Adolescents and Emerging Adults and other training programs that may become available to those who work with youth in multiple settings

Resources
  • The creation of innovative educational and experiential strategies and programs designed with and for Jewish youth
  • The expansion of affordable and accessible immersion experiences for Jewish youth
  • The support and diffusion of exemplary congregational and communal efforts to engage Jewish youth

Partnerships
  • The commitment to collaborate with organizations and individuals within and beyond the Reform Movement that share the overall campaign goal
  • The Movement-wide collection, analysis and sharing of data relevant to the recruitment, retention and involvement of Jewish youth in Jewish life
  • The recruitment, infusion, and allocation of human and financial resources from philanthropic individuals and foundations required to enable the success of the Campaign for Youth Engagement.

As we move toward Biennial, the details of the Call to Action will change to reflect the vision of our congregations and communities. Check back here for updated drafts.

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