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Inside Leadership
Man walking the Torah through aisles of people at the Biennial as they kiss the scroll

"At Biennial, I am surrounded by my Judaism, in song, in prayer, in study, in fun. Biennial restores my Jewish self to me" -past Biennial participant

Worship is always a highlight of the URJ Biennial, and the 2019 convention will be no exception. Nowhere is Shabbat prayer like it is at Biennial, where more than 5,000 Reform Jews join with dynamic clergy, an expert band, and a 100-person volunteer choir of members of Reform congregations. 

Here's a sneak peek at what to expect:

  • Weekday Daily Worship: Each weekday of the Biennial, choose from a variety of morning (...
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Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154

New York, NY; November 14, 2019 –

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) has selected 10 individuals to participate in the URJ JewV’Nation Fellowship’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Cohort, a nine-month program dedicated to promoting and incorporating DEI principles in Reform Jewish congregations across North America.

Led by URJ Program Manager Rachel Hall, this cohort was created out...

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

Late in 2018, Jan Marx Braverman contacted B’er Chayim Temple (BCT) in Cumberland, MD, to inquire about the possibility that our congregation might donate a Torah scroll to the Lake Chapala Jewish Congregation (LCJC) in Ajijic, Mexico. Jan is the secretary of the LCJC, but before retiring to Mexico, she belonged to Beth Jacob Congregation, which merged with BCT in the late 1990s.

At the time, BCT, which was founded in 1853, had...

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Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154

New York, NY; November 13, 2019 –

The Union for Reform Judaism deplores the massive, ongoing rocket attacks unleashed by Islamic Jihad upon Israeli communities throughout the South of the country and the area around Gaza.

We stand in solidarity with the Israeli victims of this new round of violence. We pray for the healing of the injured and for the safety of the Israel Defense Forces as they combat this assault on Israeli sovereignty and security. As we send strength and...

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Rabbi Allan "Smitty" Smith on the bimah at Biennial

Earlier this week, with the death of Rabbi Allan Smith, – “Smitty” to all who knew and loved him – the Reform Jewish world lost a true giant.

After beginning his work for the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ, formerly the UAHC) on the kitchen staff at a URJ camp, he quickly displayed a host of talents that led him to a career of more than three decades as the architect and builder of the URJ’s extensive youth programs, transforming the lives of generations of young people. He also served for many years as the beloved rabbi of...

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About Inside Leadership

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