Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
(NEW YORK, October 8, 2002)-Responding to the findings of the United Jewish Community's population study released today, Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, said the data underscore the need to address how we can strengthen and support the changing Jewish family.
STATEMENT BY RABBI ERIC YOFFIE
President, Union of American Hebrew Congregations
The results of the UJC's population study released thus far underscore challenges that the Jewish community faces. While the findings seen in the data are trends that we at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations have long anticipated - indeed, the departments of Jewish Family Concerns and Outreach and Synagogue Community made a presentation at our June Board of Trustees meeting about these trends - we need to give serious thought to the implications of the findings for our synagogues.
In his June presentation, Rabbi Richard Address, director of the Department of Jewish Family Concerns, told the Board that instead of talking about the "changing Jewish family," we need to address the challenges that the "changed Jewish family" poses for the Jewish community.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations has begun to address those changes. Indeed, we created the Department of Jewish Family Concerns to provide support for those coping with divorce, custody issues, single parenting, infertility, adoption, blended families, older adults, and gay and lesbian inclusions. Among the UAHC's initiatives are the following:
You will recall that more than a decade ago, when the 1990 Jewish Population Survey was released, the statistics on intermarriage caught much of the Jewish community by surprise and caused great alarm and concern. The Reform Movement, however, was not caught by surprise. We had already seen the trend and created our Outreach programs to reach out to interfaith couples and welcome them into the community. Rather than bemoan the statistics, we creatively and forthrightly addressed the challenges, and, as we now see, our efforts have brought a new vitality to our Movement. Similarly, we will not bemoan these findings; rather, we will continue to work to meet the challenge these changing demographics pose to the Jewish community.