Bring the Magic of Biennial to Your Congregation

Inside Leadership

Bring the Magic of Biennial to Your Congregation

Michael Douglas, April Baskin, Danny Meyer, Jodi Kantor

As director of the URJ Biennial, the number one question I’m asked is “How can we bring the magic of the Biennial to our whole congregation?”

Bringing Biennial Home is the answer!

Timely, stimulating and engaging, the Bringing Biennial Home videos and complementary study guides are ideal for nearly all congregational and communal settings in which you and fellow leaders wish to inspire through conversation and action: adult education courses, synagogue board meetings, Introduction to Judaism classes, youth programs, and more.

Using specially-edited videos of panel discussions moderated by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor – a member of Brooklyn’s Congregation Beth Elohim – we have created a forum through which you and your congregants can participate in the important conversations launched at the 2015 Biennial around some of the URJ’s strategic priorities:

  • The Audacious Hospitality conversation features URJ Vice President April Baskin, actor and inclusion activist Michael Douglas, and restaurateur Danny Meyer;
  • Our discussion around Israel includes Knesset Member Stav Shaffir, author and columnist Ari Shavit, and URJ President Emeritus Rabbi Eric Yoffie; and
  • Panelists addressing racial justice are NAACP President Cornell Brooks, URJ Senior Vice President and Director of the Religious Action Center Rabbi Jonah Pesner, and the Service Employees International Union Local 615 Executive Vice President Rocio Sáenz.

We’ve also created a fourth guide, Worship: A Study Guide for Congregations, to explore the Biennial’s inventive worship and focus on specific elements you may wish to experiment with in your own synagogues. This study guide may be particularly interesting to your ritual committee members.

In the coming weeks, we will add to the Bringing Biennial Home series with resources drawn from the best of the Biennial sessions in each track: Audacious Hospitality, Strengthening Congregations, Tikkun Olam, and Transforming Texts, in partnership with HUC-JIR, as well as from our youth programming. All these materials will be widely applicable in your congregation.

I hope you will enjoy using Bringing Biennial Home, and that it will enrich many facets of life in your congregation. In the meantime, mark your calendar now for the next URJ Biennial – December 6-10, 2017 in Boston. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Mark Pelavin is the chief program officer and director of the Biennial at the Union for Reform Judaism.

Mark J. Pelavin

Published: 1/19/2016

Categories: Conferences & Events

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