Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
At the 2013 URJ Biennial, Rabbi Rick Jacobs gave an historic speech that called upon the Reform Jewish community to reach out, embrace, and integrate into Jewish life the full spectrum of pluralistic Jews, particularly those who are chronically excluded. He encapsulated this idea in the phrase “audacious hospitality,” and within two years hired me, a thirtysomething Jewish woman of color who picked up and moved to New York City to fulfill a dream to bring this vision to life.
At the heart of audacious hospitality is the belief that we will be a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we not only welcome, but also embrace the diversity that is the reality – and future – of modern Jewish life. The meaning of audacious hospitality is both new and old: a bold next step in decades-long, cutting-edge Reform Jewish inclusion and outreach efforts.
Immediately, my days (and nights!) were filled with developing and assessing programs, meeting donors, and speaking at conferences, synagogues, summer camps, and universities. We built a team and started by asking questions; now, we’re beginning to answer them.
Two years into this work, three strategic themes have emerged: outreach and engagement, leadership development, and resources and education. With those themes in mind, we’ve built an array of resources and programs:
We’re making progress – and yet, there’s so much more we’re eager to do. Here’s what comes next:
At long last, we are “firing on all cylinders” – which, in our case, could only happen after we built the proverbial engine casement, the turbines, and the pistons, and filled the engine with fuel. Now, four productive, fruitful, and exciting years after Rabbi Jacobs’ speech, the engine driving our audacious hospitality work is revved up and ready to go. Our dedicated and enthusiastic team is working to build a brighter, more inclusive Jewish future for so many.
Some of you have already been touched by our work, whether by participating in a program or through your congregation – and if you’ve yet to engage with us, we’re here for you! Our audacious hospitality team is committed to expanding the network of champions of Jewish diversity, advocates for change, and agents for openness. Request the Pilot Toolkit to begin your own journey toward acknowledging and integrating diversity into Jewish life.
Indeed, the Reform Jewish Movement is warmly and energetically embracing Rabbi Jacobs’ dream, and we’re working to make it a reality. Won’t you join us?