Jewish Values

Jewish Values

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
Rabbi Rick Jacobs speaking at a podium before a rally with a sign that reads NO HATE NO FEAR
Photo: Theo Hansen

Throughout Jewish history, in every place where we Jews have lived we have turned to Psalms or Tehillim to express the deepest yearnings of our hearts.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
URJ Biennial podium empty on stage

The resolution does not define what form reparations ought to take. Instead, just like congressional legislation calling for a committee to study and develop proposals for reparations, which the resolution endorses, we consider it our moral duty to “seek an end to ignorance.” 

People with their arms around one another from the back wearing kippot

We are living in an urgent time. Reform Jewish communities are pursuing justice through the Brit Olam at the local, state/provincial, and federal levels to bring about a world in which all people experience wholeness, justice, and compassion.

Cara Fisher
  Photo by Andre Chungfor The Washington Post of TaNehisi Coates who wrote The Case for Reparations

Reform Jews and our institutions must start participating in the dialogue around what a just reparations system looks like and calling on our elected officials to do the same.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Sheldon Cole stands on the URJ Biennial stage as he presents his Biennial address

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 URJ Biennial on Wednesday, Dec.

Sheldon Cole
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
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