By Rabbi Suzanne Singer, 1/04/2018
I have always had a passion for social justice, both in my career as a television producer and in that as a rabbi. Over my nearly 10 years at Temple Beth El (TBE) in Riverside, CA, I have pursued this work with interfaith partners but rarely with my own congregation. There is a twofold reason for this. One, when I first arrived, the congregation had been through a decade of several different rabbis. I determined that my job was to heal the wounds, not to rally folks around causes. Two, TBE had no history or culture of social justice engagement. I make a distinction between social justice and... Read More
By Catherine Fischer, 9/07/2017
Congregation Rodeph Shalom was founded in 1795 and is the oldest Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere; it is also the largest synagogue in Philadelphia. Today we have about 1,150 households – and about a third of them are Baby Boomers.
The genesis of our Baby Boomer programming started about 10 years ago when several families expressed an interest in coming together to share empty nesthood. The timing, juxtaposed with another Baby Boomer who expressed interest in sharing her expertise as a psychologist, led to a stimulating and meaningful journey toward engaging Baby Boomers... Read More
By Rabbi Sarah Mack, Joie Magnone and Rachel Mersky Woda, 7/27/2017
As a participant in the URJ Reimagining Congregational Education Community of Practice, Temple Beth-El in Providence, RI, has been re-evaluating how it enables students to balance Jewish education with other activities.
Our education team will be forever affected by a parent who came to us distraught, saying “my child loves two things in the world, lacrosse and Judaism and they are always in conflict.” As we confront a changing world and a paradigm shift in supplementary religious schools we asked ourselves “why does it have to be this way?”
We all currently find ourselves in a world... Read More
By Susie Wexler, Nancy Manewith, Leanne Nathan, and Cherene Radis, 7/13/2017
In a large metro area that offers families with young children many early childhood educational options, is collaboration among preschool directors possible? Can the leaders of these early childhood organizations view each other as collaborators and not as threats?
As participants in the Chicago Early Engagement Leadership Initiative (CEELI), we’re proof the answer is “Yes!”
Supported by Crown Family Philanthropies and an anonymous funder, and directed by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) - CEELI brings together a cross-denominational cohort of 16 Jewish early childhood... Read More
By Julie Lambert, RJE, 5/30/2017
How does a national organization harness the power of individual and autonomous congregations to support each other as they experiment within the field of congregational Jewish education?
The Union for Reform Judaism has found a strong and meaningful vehicle in the Community of Practice (CoP) strategy, which convenes cohorts of congregational leaders for long-term, innovative learning about a topic of shared interest. Participating congregations form teams of lay leaders and professionals who connect with other teams, learn together, and apply their learning by experimenting in their... Read More