A year-long project incubator and leadership development program supporting emerging Jewish leaders and innovative interfaith outreach initiatives.
Jewish diversity, in all its hues, is no longer a wave – it is the ocean of Jewish life.
As part of the URJ’s 2020 vision, Audacious Hospitality is the focused effort to embrace our diversity and reach out to those currently not engaged in Jewish life. The URJ believes that everyone can feel at home in Jewish community – and that Judaism must meet people where they are today to thrive tomorrow. As a movement, we stand for a Judaism that is inclusive and open – we believe that there is more than one authentic way to be Jewish. Audacious Hospitality is a transformative spiritual practice rooted in the belief that we will be a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we fully welcome and incorporate the diversity that is the reality of modern Jewish life.
Audacious Hospitality as a new initiative is in its early phase of development. As such we are continually creating new innovative and strategic initiatives as we work to expand our reach. Examples of our current work include:
Audacious Hospitality Pilot Toolkit and Educational Resource Modules: Original publications of the Audacious Hospitality department providing comprehensive educational resources.
Transgender Inclusion Active Learning Network: A joint Audacious Hospitality Initiative in partnership with the Religious Action Center, Keshet, and transgender members of the Jewish community.
Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center: In partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, the Learning Center offers Reform professionals resources to develop additional skills, strategies and understanding to make full participation of people with disabilities in congregational and communal life possible.
When Rabbi Alexander Schindler created Reform Jewish Outreach in the 1970s, the then Union of American Hebrew Congregations heeded his call and began to listen to the needs of those in our communities who were not being heard – individuals who were considering becoming Jewish, and couples who were in love and did not see conversion as an option, but who were considering raising Jewish families. We asked them to tell us about the barriers they experienced, to tell us what made them feel welcome and what made them feel distant, and what we could do to bring them close. Through this collaborative process we learned a great deal, much of which provides the foundation for the work of Audacious Hospitality today.
Currently, we see the need to widen the circle and engage more groups of people who are often unrecognized and underserved in Jewish communal and institutional spaces. Jewish populations such as Jews by choice and those exploring Judaism, Jews of color, Jews who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer, Jews who live with physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities, multiracial families, millennials, the aging Jewish population, Jews who are unaffiliated and uninspired by Jewish communal offerings, and of course, the evolving needs of interfaith and intermarried couples and families, requires our focused attention. With this history and our current Audacious Hospitality practices, we now have a fuller understanding to meet the needs of those in the margins of our Jewish community. It is our goal through Audacious Hospitality to build on our historical success and continue to strengthen the Reform movement and North American Jewry.