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The excitement’s been building for months, and yesterday, the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial 2015 finally got underway!
Here’s what a random (and totally unscientific) sample of attendees had to say in response to this question: What was the best part of your first day here in Orlando?
“Good times with colleagues and friends…and great music from Alan Goodis,” said Rabbi Jen Gubitz of Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA.
Ellie Goodman, who hails from Temple Shalom in Newton, MA, reported a “great conversation about interfaith lifecycle events” as the highlight of her day.
Yossi Cohen, the executive director of Beit Samueli in Ra’nana Israel, is a Biennial first-timer. Glad to finally be in Orlando after several long flights, he said he was thrilled to meet so many people from congregations with which he’s already connected.
Another first-timer, Roberta Sultzer from Temple Sinai in Stamford, CT, said, “I’ve been here only a few hours, and I’m so taken with everything, especially people’s kindness and passion.”
URJ staffer and Biennial first-timer Alex Gilbert, a member of the Strengthening Congregations team, was impressed with keynote speaker Robert Brooks of Harvard Medical School. “He gave really good examples of how you come off to those around you," she said, and his message of staying positive and engaged resonated strongly with her.
First-timer Brett Shankman, executive director at Suburban Temple-Kol Ami in Beachwood, OH, said he was “pretty moved” by the energy level, which he described as “off the charts!”
"Running into everybody" was a highlight for Rabbi Marci Bellows of Temple B’nai Torah in Wantagh, N.Y., who is a Biennial veteran. This time, she’s here with a delegation of 14 congregants, two of whom are first-timers: "I can’t wait to see the Biennial through their eyes!”
What was your favorite part of Day 1 of Biennial? Tweet using #URJBiennial to let us know.