The Bridge Builder program is established as one element of the Unions
multi-faceted approach to providing support and service to member
congregations. The relationship-building efforts of Bridge Builders,
along with the efforts of URJ staff, will help to strengthen connections to the
URJ and create an awareness of the resources available to congregations.
Bridge Builders will help clarify lines of connection to the Union for, among
other things, the many congregations who regularly use assets that they do not
associate with the URJ. Bridge Builders will help network Union congregations
that are addressing or have addressed similar challenges. In partnership
with Congregational Representatives, Bridge Builders will establish a
relationship with synagogue leadership that helps makes the Union and its
resources more valued by the congregation.
Camps, NFTY, Youth
Benjamin Mendel, Vice Chair
We know the critical role played by our camps and NFTY in building committed Reform youngsters; this portfolio will work to strengthen those entities and draw more participants to them. It is the task of the Core group of this portfolio to educate our congregational leaders, both clerical and lay leaders, as well as congregational members, about the varied and wonderful world of youth programs offered in the Reform movement. We also want to excite young people by adding the range of Union offerings and by strengthening our ability to innovate relevant youth programming.
Scott Winter, Vice Chair
Includes: Council of Leaders Program, New Congregations Committee, Small Congregations Committee
Our congregations often gain strength by getting together to compare notes or to exchange ideas or to share resources or to share experiences. Presidents/Executive Leaders Forums, Educators Conclaves and Choral Festivals are examples of collaborations that this portfolio will foster. The Congregation Collaboration Committee will provide a coordinated process through which congregational leaders can discuss and share ideas, experiences, and common objectives. Members of the committee will strive to accomplish the following goals: Establish a moderated forum to discuss topical issues of contemporary synagogue life; sensitize and educate congregational leaders to the concept of transforming and growing synagogues into visionary, purpose driven, entities; coordinate joint efforts to attract the unaffiliated and to retain members; develop and implement joint activities including worship, study and social action where a appropriate; assist other committees with specific projects to the extent of overlapping with the work.
Lois Simpson, Vice Chair
This portfolios mission is to educate our East District Council members as to the major role the URJ Annual Campaign has in the Unions budget process. We hope that our Council members realization that the programs and projects with which they are involved would not be possible without a financial commitment from each of them will result in a 100% District Council commitment to the Annual Campaign. Those who wish to assist in this task can do so in two ways: Make a pledge to the URJ Annual Campaign to the best of your ability. Also, we are looking for 4 or 5 core partners; people who have fundraising experience and/or those who are willing to solicit our fellow Council members.
Jewish Learning and Identity Development
Ed Malberg, Vice Chair
This portfolio seeks to support the synagogue in a primary goal: to help all its members, young and old, to see the world through Jewish eyes. Formal and informal Jewish education, for both children and adults, stands at the center of those efforts. This portfolio will also focus on Israel as integral to Jewish identity development.
This portfolio seeks to help congregations use the most updated as well as traditional resources to help all learners, regardless of age or learning style. We will seek to help congregations meet the challenges of special learners, of integrating art and culture into all congregants sense of Reform Judaism.
Susan Feldman, Vice Chair
Includes: Nominating Committee, Congregational Leadership Development Committee
This portfolio will be responsible for programs and initiatives that identify potential leaders and that support and teach appropriate knowledge sets and skills in order to create new Jewish leaders as well as nurturing and retaining those lay leaders already involved.
The focus will be to guide and encourage Reform Jews to become involved in our congregations, in the East District and on the North American Board, to articulate and convey the roles and responsibilities of being a leader and to provide the tools to ensure succession of well trained leaders.
Membership and Outreach
Hannah Moore, Vice Chair
Includes: Underserved Congregations Committee
Membership lies at the heart of our congregations, and Outreach is a vehicle for nurturing and sustaining vibrant, growing sacred communities. Our charge is to help our 300-plus congregations in the East connect to the knowledge, training and community resources that will help them attract and recruit new members; integrate all members into the life of the congregation and retain them; welcome those unfamiliar with Reform synagogue life including new Jews, the intermarried, those who have not found a welcoming home in other streams of Judaism, and the unaffiliated; and encourage lifelong membership.
MUM and Financial Planning
Bill Blumstein and Ed Burger, Vice Chairs
The Committee on Maintenance of Union Membership (MUM Committee) oversees the implementation of the Proportional Dues Program which includes provisions under which congregations may request approval of a plan for a temporary reduction of or an alternate plan for payment of their URJ dues.
The District MUM Committee reports directly to the North American MUM Committee which meets quarterly to review and recommend approval of proposed plans to the North American MUM Committee. In addition, the District and North American MUM Committees will recommend suspension or termination of congregations for failure to comply with the URJs dues policies as provided for in the Proportional Dues Plan.
Social Justice and Action
Honey Heller, Vice Chair
Includes: State Advocacy Program
From the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to the commitment of our congregations, social conscience is an integral part of the Reform Movement. We use our hands and hearts for social action and raise our voices for social justice. Carrying forward this tradition is the work of this portfolio.
Worship and Jewish Life
Ronni Pressman, Vice Chair
Includes: Shabbaton Program
Not focused solely on the synagogue and its transformation, this portfolio will encourage meaningful worship experiences in many aspects of Jewish Living. Music, language, scheduling, tradition, experimentation, clergy and lay roles are just some of the variables to be modeled and explored.