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July 31, 2014 | 4th Av 5774
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The learning activities are designed to frame the discussion of the proposed vision statement. Through these activities, the participants will be asked to consider what they currently value in Reform Judaism and to dream of how those values and others will be cherished by future generations.
Learning Activity 1 for Adults:
"What do you value about being a Reform Jew"?
Supplies
  • White board or flip chart and markers
  • Pens and paper
  • Copies of the proposed vision statement

Questions to be Addressed
  • What do you value today?
  • Which values do you want the next generation to cherish?
  • How would you prioritize these values?

Process
  1. Ask each participant to write a list of 3-5 Jewish values that are important to him/her today. (5 minutes)

  2. Have participants share their lists with each other in chevruta (small groups) (5-15 minutes)
    a. Questions to consider:
    i. What are the commonalities?
    ii. What are the differences?
  3. Compile a list of values from the entire group on the white board or flip chart. (15-20 minutes)
    a. After all the values are listed, poll participants to see how many included each value on his or her individual list.
    b. Record the total next to each value.
  4. With a picture of which values are important to the group today, shift the conversation to the future and the proposed vision statement. (10-15 minutes)
    a. Which values are essential for the next generation? Why?
    b. How would you explain the values' significance to the next generation?
  5. Share the proposed vision statement. (5-10 minutes)
    a. Ask participants to read it silently or aloud.
    b. Allow time for reflection and to answer any questions of clarification.
  6. Discuss the proposed vision statement. (30 minutes)
    a. Are there points of commonality between the proposed vision statement and the values list generated by the group? What are they?
    b. What are the differences?
    c. Does the proposed vision statement reflect your vision for the Reform Movement and Reform Jews of the future? Explain.
    d. What does the statement mean to me?
    e. What are the implications for our institution?
    f. How might we live it out? Where does it already live?
    g. How does this statement align with my vision for Reform Judaism in 20 years?
Learning Activity 2 for Adults: "Delving Into the Vision"
Supplies
  • Pens and paper
  • Copies of the proposed vision statement

Process
  1. Ask participants to listen carefully to the proposed vision statement as you read it aloud. Do not ask for comments. (3--5 minutes)

  2. Distribute paper and pens. Ask participants to listen again as you re-read the proposed vision statement and to write down words or phrases that resonate with them. Read the statement slowly, allowing time for writing. (5-10 minutes)

  3. Distribute copies of the proposed vision statement. Read it again and give participants time to read it themselves.
    a. Ask: Is there anything participants want to add to their lists? (15 minutes)
  4. Discussion: Participants' Lists (20 minutes or as long as is needed)
    a. Depending on the group's size, you can break into small groups or remain as one large group for this discussion.
    b. Focusing on participants' lists, what resonated with you? Why?
    c. Did anyone agree or disagree, why?
  5. Discussion: Proposed vision statement (20-30 minutes or as long as is needed)
    a. What does it mean to you?
    b. Do you have any questions about the proposed vision statement as a whole?
    c. What are the implications for our congregation? For our local community?
    d. How does this vision statement align with your personal vision for Reform Judaism in 20 years?
    e. How might we live it out?
    f. Solicit general comments.
During the discussion, make reference as appropriate to Rabbi James Gibson's commentary and/or Michael Laufer's commentary.
Learning Activity 3 for Adults: Arba Kushiyot - Four Questions to Ponder about the Future of Reform Judaism

A project of the Reform Jewish Think Tank of the URJ, CCAR and HUC-JIR, these four lessons and accompanying videos (below) center around four questions: 1. What is the greatest contribution of Reform Judaism to Judaism? 2. Why are you a Reform Jew? 3. What is the greatest challenge of Reform Judaism? 4. What will facilitate the growth of Reform Judaism? The videos features Reform Jewish leaders answering these questions, and the lessons are meant to help participants come to their own conclusions. In order for our movement to grow stronger, we need an open conversation among the leaders of our national and international organizations and those in our synagogues and communities. These videos and companion study guide have been created as a way to begin the conversation and move all those affiliated with the Reform Movement toward dialogue.

Question 1
 
Question 2
 
 Question 3
Question 4
 
Learning Activity 4 for Teens:
Note
  • Designed for teens, this activity could be used with youth groups and/or Confirmation classes

Supplies
  • White board or flip chart and markers
  • Post-it Notes (4 different colors)
  • Pens
  • Copies of the proposed vision statement

Process
  1. Write the following terms on large flip chart paper (one term per page) and post the pages around the room:

    • Community
    • Innovation
    • Tradition
    • Israel
    • Spirituality
    • Torah
    • Tikkun olam
    • Inclusive
    • Choice through knowledge

  2. Ask participants to stand near a sheet that includes a term they value highly.

    Give each participant a BLUE post-it and instruct them to write on it one reason they value this particular term before placing the post-it on the sheet. (5-10 minutes)

    Repeat step #2 three more times:

    Use YELLOW post-its for Round 2 (5-10 minutes)

    Use GREEN post-its for Round 3 (5-10 minutes)

    Use PINK post-its for Round 4 (5-10 minutes)

  3. Ask participants to walk around the room and read the comments, noting the similarities and priorities of the whole group. (10 minutes)

  4. Discuss (15-20 minutes)

    What do participants value or prioritize as a group?

    Is there a term that participants value now that they also consider important for the future? Explain.

    How can these priorities be guaranteed or encouraged in the future?

  5. Introduce the proposed vision statement and read it with the group.

    Discuss (20-30 minutes)

    How do participants' priorities fit with the proposed vision statement?

    What does it mean to you?

    Do participants agree that the statement represents a Reform Judaism with which they identify now or would in the future? Why or why not?

    How might participants live out the proposed vision?
 
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