6 Tools and Resources for These Unprecedented Times

Inside Leadership

6 Tools and Resources for These Unprecedented Times

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We are living in unprecedented times that are challenging us in exceptional ways. They’re also making congregational life and its sacred partnerships more vital than ever. The URJ’s partnerships with our member congregations are among our most valued relationships and in that vein, we are highlighting some timely tools and resources to help you enhance and enrich Jewish life in your community during this High Holiday season – and throughout the coming year.

  1. Hurricane Relief: Although the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has dissipated, countless individuals and numerous Reform congregations were affected by the storms, and their needs will continue for months to come. Here are ways you and your congregation can support hurricane relief efforts.
  1. The Urgency of Now: At this moment in history, the need for tikkun olam (repair of the world) is tremendous. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism has compiled The Urgency of Now Resource Center to make it easy for you and your members to quickly access and act on the Reform Movement’s most urgent legislative actions – from health care and immigration to human rights, criminal justice reform, and more.
  1. Audacious Hospitality and Disabilities Inclusion: Download the Audacious Hospitality Pilot Toolkit, a distillation of the URJ’s Audacious Hospitality initiative, and visit the Disabilities Inclusion Learning Center. Both are valuable assets that contain a wealth of resources to facilitate inclusion of marginalized populations and people with disabilities into all facets of synagogue life, and can enhance your congregation’s work in these critical areas.
  1. News from Israel: Although news from Israel changes at lightning speed, you can keep abreast of what's happening -- especially around issues dealing with pluralism in the Jewish State -- with resources and conversations in The Tent.
  1. Protect DREAMers from Deportation: As the administration works to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today. We must, as Reform Jews, affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s immigrants – including the young people brought to this country as children, who will once again be at risk of detention or deportation – that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago. Send a message about DACA to lawmakers in Washington and encourage your members to do the same.
  1. Update Your Leadership Information: If your congregation’s leadership ranks changed over the summer or are changing with the new year, remember to provide us with updates to ensure that your congregation is listed correctly in our directory and that your leaders receive appropriate targeted information from time to time. Current information also will enable them to access The Tent, the collaborative workspace where the Reform Movement’s lay and professional leaders connect and network.

At this season – and always – we are grateful for your leadership in the Reform Movement and your efforts to work together with us to build a whole, just, and compassionate world. May the new year bring you and your loved ones health, joy, and blessings, and through the deeds our tradition demands, may our world come to reflect the reality we want it to be. L’shanah tovah um’tukah.

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

Mark J. Pelavin

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