In recent years, our synagogues have explored what it means to be 'expanding the tent' and embracing 'audacious hospitality.' Both ideas center around the notion that our Jewish communities ought to be places of belonging - spaces where everyone is welcomed, affirmed, and can feel at home.
A message to anyone who has been subject to abuse or harm within the URJ - or by the URJ as a result - and to the wider URJ communities, from Dr. Guila Benchimol and Dr. Alissa Ackerman.
On the Jewish calendar, the start of the month of Elul signifies the beginning of the High Holiday season. As individuals, it is during this time that we begin the process of cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul), reflecting on the past year. So too, it is important for your leadership and community to reflect on the past year and consider how to do better moving forward.
It is hard to believe that we are entering the third High Holiday season with the words "new normal" ringing in the back of our minds. This year, our leaders - clergy, professionals, and volunteers alike - are leaning into the possibilities and making plans for the new Jewish year of 5783.
Last week, we traveled together to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a remarkable group of Black civil rights leaders and Reform Jewish leaders, including those who sit at the intersection of being Black and Jewish. We imagined that there would likely be bumps along the way, and there were. However, our group knew one another from our ongoing social justice and racial equity work in the United States, so there was a reservoir of goodwill and commonality that served us well.
We are in the third year of High Holidays like no other. As we approach the yamim nora’im (the days of awe) and the festivals that follow, take advantage of the offerings from the URJ to supplement your programming and manage your operations.
As part of our ongoing efforts to create safe, respectful, and equitable workplaces, the URJ requires all staff to regularly participate in sexual harassment prevention training classes, provided by Traliant Compliance Training. Now, through the Reform Movement Marketplace, the URJ is making Traliant Compliance Training classes available to our affiliated congregations at a reduced cost.
Organizational Partners in Action: How the Jewish Grandparents Network, URJ, and Keshet Partnered to Support Grandparents of Transgender, Non-binary, and Gender-expansive Youth
Along with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Jewish Grandparents Network (JGN) and Keshet share a commitment to an inclusive Jewish community that reflects and affirms marginalized identities. We realized we could have the greatest impact towards a more inclusive community if we worked together.
As part of the URJ’s ongoing ethics work, we are writing to let you know of new and expanded reporting channels and protocols, including the hiring of a new Ombuds. These steps have been informed by our field experts and the courageous voices of victims and survivors who have publicly and privately shared their experiences and feedback.
Summer 2022 was full of opportunities and growth. We celebrated the joy and beauty of camp and Israel experiences, infused intention and meaning in our planning and programming, and enabled campers, summer immersive participants, and staff to create communities of respect and belonging.