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Inside Leadership
Group of songleaders sitting outdoors at a summer camp holding guitars and wearing all white as if on Shabbat
Pair of hands, palms upward with red, heart-shaped objects in the palms
Rabbi Jonah Pesner at the 2019 Consultation on Conscience
Group of songleaders sitting outdoors at a summer camp holding guitars and wearing all white as if on Shabbat

What does it mean when we ask the question “How can synagogues be more like camp?” As Jewish professionals, we often think about how we can get more kids to go to Jewish camp, and we think programmatically: Can we make the religious school experience more camp-like, or can we make our worship experience more camp-like? We tend to think of making synagogues more like camp in terms of experiences or programs: the music of camp-style services, the informal education, and the like.

What I have learned, however, is that making synagogues more like camp isn’t about programs, or guitar at...

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Pair of hands, palms upward with red, heart-shaped objects in the palms

When we were children, we learned to say thank you when someone did something for us. Your big sister shared a toy with you – “Thanks, sis!” A teacher let you take home the class pet – “Thank you, Ms. Clark! I’ll take good care of it.”

As we grew older and into adulthood, we probably took more and more for granted and started to say thank you less and less. Today, we might be amazed if, when we hold the door open for someone, they react by not only walking through, but also saying, “Thank you.” Though a seemingly small thing, that moment of gratitude – of acknowledging another’s...

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner at the 2019 Consultation on Conscience

“If you will obey me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples…you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” -- Exodus 19:5-6

Two years ago, on the heels of an election campaign full of unprecedented levels of bigoted rhetoric, demonization of immigrants and refugees, vilification of Muslims, and blatant anti-Semitic tropes and tweets, thousands of us from across the Reform Jewish Movement assembled in person and online, committed to confront what we understood was the fierce “urgency of now,” the moral crisis of our...

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Aerial view of a laptop on a wooden table surrounded by items including a coffee mug and a pair of glasses

In our digital world, your congregation’s online presence is your window to the world. With 69 percent of the U.S. public and an even higher percentage in Canada using social media (and with individuals increasingly relying on online searches to help them make decisions), your congregation’s digital profile is key to introducing new people to your institution and to engaging existing members.

As you plan your communications for the coming year...

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Group of smiling students posing together at a Shabbat dinner table

It was the summer of 2012 and I was excited, nervous, and anxious all at the same time. In just a few short weeks, I would officially begin my time at the University of Kansas.

Although it was the perfect school for me, I didn’t fully know what to expect – and just like the thousands of high school seniors graduating this school year, I still had so many questions about the year to come: Would I be able to make new friends? What did I want to do with my life after college? What was my connection to Jewish community going to look like?

Looking back on it now, it’s incredible...

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About Inside Leadership

Inside Leadership, the blog at URJ.org, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.