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September 1, 2014 | 6th Elul 5774
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Frequently Asked Questions

How was the Proposed Vision Statement Developed?

In April 2011, as previously noted, 33 members of the Reform Judaism Think Tank, representing the CCAR, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) met to begin developing a vision statement for the future of Reform Judaism in North America. The group set forth these principles to guide it in crafting a collective vision for the Movement:
  • We recognize the need for change.
  • We see this acknowledgement as a sign of health
  • Reform Judaism, its institutions, and Judaism itself have in the past been resilient and adapted to challenges. They will do so again in the future.
    (from the Visioning Discussion Guide)
During 2011 and 2012, Reform Judaism Think Tank members gathered data from within and beyond the Movement, using the information in several projects. The overall process included more than 1500 participants who were asked to share their ideas, thoughts and wishes around issues they believed would help create a bright future for North American Reform Judaism.

As the Think Tank reviewed existing data, key themes, values and primary levels of Reform Jewish engagement emerged. In March 2012, the Reform Judaism Think Tank presented the RLC with its proposed vision statement, which is based on three distinct levels of engagement:
  • The individual 
  • The community
  • The institutions of the Movement

Why Engage in Study and Discussion of a Proposed Vision for Reform Judaism?

At various times in the history of Reform Judaism, platforms and statements have been developed that have guided our prayer, our study and our actions. These platforms reflected the times in which they were written.

Now, the responsibility and the opportunity are ours. Your community’s input and feedback about the Reform Judaism Think Tank’s proposed vision for our Movement will be added to the voices that have already been heard. By studying, discussing and sharing opinions about the proposed vision, your community will enrich and strengthen it—and the future of Reform Judaism—with your own thoughts, ideas and dreams.


What is the Reform Leadership Council?

In the late 19th century as he was laying the foundation for Reform Judaism in America, Rabbi Isaac Meyer Wise established three organizational pillars: the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), Hebrew Union College (which later merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion), and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). These pillars remain at the core of today’s North American Reform Movement and their executives—through the RLC, a decision-making body comprising the most senior lay and professional leaders of each institution—continue to work together to ensure the religious, educational and spiritual future of Reform Judaism.


How Can Our Community Participate?




What are the Goals of Participation?

The two main goals of participation are:
  • To engage Reform Jews in dialogue around the proposed vision for the Reform Movement
  • To gather feedback and suggestions


Who from our Community is Invited to Engage in this Conversation?

Everyone!

  • Adults
  • Teens (youth group, confirmation class, Hebrew high school, etc.)
  • Synagogue members and the unaffiliated
  • Staff and board members
  • Affiliate groups: WRJ/Sisterhood, MRJ/Men’s Club, other groups within the community


Feedback

The educational materials in this program guide enable you to engage your community in conversation about the proposed vision statement.

Feedback and input is important to the process. After the community has reviewed and discussed the proposed statement, please complete this feedback survey before November 15, 2012.

The feedback will be considered by the Think Tank before presenting a final version of the vision statement.

Add Your Voice

 
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