Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
For more than 30 years, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), in partnership with our congregations and clergy, has offered A Taste of Judaism® and Introduction to Judaism programs, welcoming tens of thousands of individuals and couples into Jewish conversations and the Jewish community. With the goals of offering greater support to more congregations and reaching many more people, we are expanding our resources toward these in-person courses. In addition, we are expanding the URJ’s Introduction to Judaism online program to support congregations that do not offer in-person courses.
Congregations that offer A Taste of Judaism® or in-person Introduction to Judaism courses are invited to share course details with us so we can offer help with registration, marketing, and administration, as well as educational resources and consulting. Tell us about your A Taste of Judaism® program. Tell us about your in-person Introduction to Judaism course.
According to Rabbi Andrew Vogel of Temple Sinai in Brookline, MA, a congregation that has long offered A Taste of Judaism® and Introduction to Judaism classes:
“It’s not an overstatement to say that some of our most devoted lay leaders and most active congregants are folks who came to us through A Taste of Judaism® or Introduction to Judaism. These classes have been a powerful entry point for newcomers to Judaism, Jews reconnecting with their Judaism, and interfaith couples who are exploring what it could mean to create a Jewish home and family together. Through these experiences, their eyes have come to ‘shine with the light of Torah,’ with joy, curiosity and enthusiasm. Our congregation is enriched by their presence, and so is the Jewish people.”
For individuals who have little or no experience with Judaism, entering a Jewish space can feel overwhelming and intimidating. They may worry: Will I be accepted? Will my questions be welcomed? Will I be pressured to make a commitment?
A Taste of Judaism® aims to ease those concerns and eliminate perceived barriers of entry to the Jewish community. This free, three-session program offers an easy access point to liberal Jewish life for those who are curious about Judaism.
Program participants include interfaith partners, spiritual seekers, Jews who are interested in reconnecting with Judaism, individuals considering conversion, and individuals who are exploring Jewish family heritage. Many have never before entered a synagogue or met a rabbi or cantor. For those who are interested in a deeper or ongoing relationship, the program fosters a connection with the host congregation and its rabbi, cantor, or educator who serves as faculty.
After completing the three-session A Taste of Judaism® program:
Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford, CT, whose experience includes teaching A Taste of Judaism® had this to say:
“It was a joy to teach A Taste of Judaism®. We never would have reached this diverse group of people without it. For the Jews who took the class, they learned more about their heritage. For those in interfaith families, it helped created greater understanding. And, for those who knew little about Judaism, they came away with information to be more informed…. The financial, educational, and organizational support [offered by the URJ] made this an easy and effective program that touched many lives.”
Congregations that offer in-person Introduction to Judaism (or similar) courses should share course details with us so we can provide support around registration, marketing, and administration, as well as educational resources and consulting.
Specifically, URJ staff will:
The URJ looks forward to continuing to offer relevant, meaningful programs and resources that welcome and engage individuals, couples, and families in Jewish conversations and the Jewish community.
For more information, email Julie Zupan, Audacious Hospitality’s director of learning and engagement.