Serving Reform Judaism: Learn How at the MRJ Conference

Inside Leadership

Serving Reform Judaism: Learn How at the MRJ Conference

Group of individuals standing behind a Men of Reform Judaism sign held by Rabbi Rick Jacobs

A little more than a decade ago – at about the same time the first iPhone went on sale – the National Federation of Temple Brotherhoods transitioned to Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ) and adopted this mission: To serve Jewish men, Reform Judaism, and its local congregations.”

MRJ serves congregations in countless ways: providing Shabbat and High Holiday ushers, building the sukkah, making countless latkes for Hanukkah events, running blood drives, and organizing legacy programs such as The Mens Seder, the yellow candle project for Yom HaShoah, and more.

Likewise, MRJ serves its members, often by offering men’s health programs and opportunities to socialize with fellow Jews through such events as “Scotch and Scriptures,” comedy nights, chicken soup cook-offs, sports outings, and Super Bowl watch parties.

But what does it mean to serve Reform Judaism?

Serving Reform Judaism means we sit at the table with other Reform Movement affiliates to represent the interests and priorities of our members – Reform Jewish men. MRJ gives us a strong voice – and a tangible role – in the Reform Movement. We use that voice productively and powerfully to:

One of the best ways to learn to serve Reform Judaism is to attend MRJ’s upcoming international conference, “MRJ Today: Past the Curb, Beyond the Parking Lot,” scheduled for Thursday, July 12, to Sunday, July 15, in Minneapolis, MN.

The conference agenda is packed with experts and inspiring speakers who will help us learn about addressing issues and questions that affect progressive Judaism today:  

  • How can we talk to each other when we disagree on basic issues?
  • What is relational Judaism? How can my congregation use what it has to teach us about leadership?
  • Will an egalitarian section at the Kotel (Western Wall) ever be built? Will the power of the Orthodox rabbinate go unchallenged there and throughout Israel?
  • Given that more than four million tweets sent last year were anti-Semitic, what is the status of anti-Semitism in North America? Why is the ADL under attack by both the alt right and the far left?
  • Do Jews have political power and if so, what are the components of such influence?
  • With more than 51,000 students, can the University of Minnesota support Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) initiatives? Are our children and grandchildren safe on college campuses?

Plan to join us in July in Minneapolis to grapple with these and other questions, learn, laugh, network, make new friends, and return home with new tools, insights, and ideas to enrich your Brotherhood and your congregation. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Men of Reform Judaism international conference will be held from Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 15, 2018 in Minneapolis, MN.

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Steven Portnoy is president of Men of Reform Judaism and a member of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.

Steven Portnoy

Published: 5/10/2018

Categories: Strengthening Congregations

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