congregational life

congregational life

Chalk drawings of arrows pointing forward as if it to indicate progress

People with disabilities and mental health conditions, and those who love them, just want what everyone else wants – to belong.

Shelly Christensen
Kelly Whitehead smiles at the camera with one hand on the back of her head and a nature scene behind her

I am a queer Jewish woman of Color, and it is impossible to separate all of my intersecting identities.

Kelly Whitehead
Men and women gathered in a circle outdoors

For congregational presidents and presidents-elect the learning doesn’t stop with Biennial. The next stop? The URJ Scheidt Seminar for Presidents and Presidents-Elect.

Amy Asin
Closeup of a Torah unscrolled on blue fabric

Rabbi Adam Fisher's group has met every single week for 30 years in a row. To learn more about this incredible accomplishment, I spoke with Rabbi Fisher about these weekly Torah study sessions and what they mean to him and his community.

Chris Harrison
Rustic looking welcome sign hanging from twine

Learn how Beth El Congregation in Harrisonburg, VA, maintains the tradition and spirit of welcoming the stranger that the URJ calls "audacious hospitality."

Mary Handley with Michele Braun
Woman laughing while holding a microphone and speaking in front of a small group

The URJ offers a range of leadership development opportunities, so there’s sure to be something suitable for every leader in your congregation.

Amy Asin
Members of the Maryland congregation and the Mexican congregation with the Torah being donated

Learn what happened when a congregation in Ajijic, Mexico, contacted B’er Chayim Temple in Cumberland, MD, to see about acquiring a much-needed Torah scroll.

Doug Schwab
Two women holding hands under a chuppah as a rabbi officiates over their wedding ceremony

Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley in Lowell, MA, won a 2019 URJ Belin Award for its LGBTQ+ “Uninitiative,” a series of audaciously hospitable actions to welcome and support the congregation’s LGBTQ+ community. 

Chris Harrison
Temple Beth El members and friends participating in a gay pride parade

Belin Award-winning Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, TX, applied the idea of breath and soul (nefesh) to monthly learning opportunities around social justice themes.

Chris Harrison
Trophy on its side with confetti spilling out

Meet eight award-winning congregations that have developed innovative programs rooted in the concepts of audacious hospitality that also engage and retain members. 

Chris Harrison