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August 21, 2014 | 25th Av 5774
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Open Doors, Open Minds

OPEN DOORS, OPEN MINDS:
SYNAGOGUES AND CHURCHES STUDYING TOGETHER
A 67th Biennial Initiative

During the past several years most of us have been exposed to more anti-Semitic discourse than we have encountered in our entire lives. We find it today in right-wing nationalism and left-wing anti-globalism, in radical Islam and reactionary forms of Christianity. In the 1950s and 60s, Reform Judaism was at the forefront of interreligious dialogue in North America. But in recent decades, interfaith work has declined precipitously; in many communities, little survives beyond Thanksgiving services and model seders.

We can no longer afford relations that barely exist. The Union has joined with four Christian denominations in calling for dialogue and has prepared the Open Doors, Open Minds curriculum. Congregations are asked to join with a church in the community and commit to seven sessions at which adult learners will come together to learn about common aspects of our history and about critical distinctions; to engage in joint study of sacred texts; and to participate in a structured conversation concerning Israel and the Middle East conflict.

We are pleased to announce Open Doors, Open Minds II. Expanding and deepening the relationships established in the first program, this new curriculum addresses social justice issues from a religious perspective.  By focusing on shared values and a commitment to making the world a better place, participants will gain a new understanding of both their own and one another's religious tradition.   

Open Doors, Open Minds I (PDF)

Open Doors, Open Minds II (PDF)

Follow-up:

  • If you have completed the ODOM curriculum, please complete our online survey.
  • If your community has engaged in follow-up programming after completing the curriculum, please fill out that section of the form as well.
    --> proceed to the ODOM Evaluation and Follow-up online survey

View follow-up program ideas that other congregations have done after completing Open Doors, Open Minds.

Jewish Chautauqua Society and Women of Reform Judaism grants for Open Doors, Open Minds implementation

  • Download the application form as a PDF or Word document
  • Submit completed applications to interreligious@urj.org or (fax) 202-667-9070.

    **Please Note: Grant applications will be considered according to a "rolling deadline" process. The sooner you submit, the better we can assure that funding will still be available. Email interreligious@urj.org with questions about the grant application process.

View the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Open Doors, Open Minds curriculum supplement (PDF)

Click here for the press release about the program.

Open Doors, Open Minds I makes extensive use of a new video series -- Walking God's Paths -- produced by the Reform and Conservative Movements (through the National Council of Synagogues) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The video/DVD may be purchased from the URJ Press at www.urjpress.com, 212.650.4120.


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