Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
Can’t be in Chicago to attend the URJ Biennial in person? You can still join the fun – no matter where in the world you are!
Have friends, family members, or fellow congregants who might want to know about this information? Please share this post widely to help us expand our reach and broaden the Biennial’s audience.
We encourage you to follow the hashtag #URJBiennial on social media to see what people are saying throughout the event. You can also follow the URJ on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where we’ll be sharing live updates throughout the Biennial.
If you’ll be at the Biennial & want to encourage others to follow along, check out and share one of our social media graphics to help spread the word!
Our plenary sessions and worship services will be livestreamed at urjbiennial.org/livestream. Bookmark the page and come back at the following dates and times to join us virtually.
Note: All times listed are Central Standard Time (CST).
Wednesday, December 11, from 4:45 – 5:45 p.m. CST
Let the 2019 URJ Biennial begin! We’ll kick off the program with singer/songwriter Michelle Citrin; celebrate Cantor Barbara Ostfeld, the first ordained woman cantor; hear from the new president of HUC-JIR, Dr. Andrew Rehfeld; hear powerful and inspiring Reform Jewish stories; and close with musical performance by Rick Recht.
Thursday Morning Plenary
Thursday, December 12, from 10:45 a,m. – 12 p.m. CST
The first full day of Biennial will open with the melodies of Cantor Natalie Young, leading into a conversation about engagement, transformation, disruption, and innovation. We’ll also honor activist Julie Fisher and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro with the Alexander M. Schindler Award for Service to World Jewry, and finally, we'll hear from Jewish-Israeli singer/songwriter Shimon Smith.
Thursday Evening Plenary
Thursday, December 12, from 8:30 – 10:00 p.m. CST
We’ll hear from musical artist Chava Mirel, learn about the Kraus Initiative for Immigrant and Refugee Justice, and present The Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award to the Tri-Faith Initiative. URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs will address the Biennial with his decisive and purposeful vision for our Reform future, and Josh Nelson will treat us to a rockin’ performance.
Friday Morning Plenary
Friday, December 13, from 10:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. CST
We’ll start with musician Noah Aronson before moving into a call to action: talking about our Jewish social Justice mandate, launching our civic engagement campaign, and presenting resolutions for ratification by Biennial delegates. We’ll also welcome our new board chair and hear the spirited music of Sheldon and Hadar.
Kabbalat Shabbat Services
Friday, December 13, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. CST
We’ll end our dynamic week of learning with a chance to breathe and reflect. Gathering as a community, we'll sing, listen to our hearts, hear one another, and see each other as unique in our sacred story. Shabbat t'filah is always a highlight of our Biennial!
Shabbat Song Session
Friday, December 13, from 8:45 – 9:30 p.m. CST
We'll welcome more than a dozen of our Movement's greatest singers, musicians, and song leaders to what promises to be a monumental Biennial song session. Share the unique ruach (spirit) created by singing with 5,000 attendees. It's an event not to be missed – in person or online!
Shabbat Morning Services
Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CST
Shabbat morning worship will elevate the joy of being together, engaging our whole selves in body, mind and spirit. Through joyful singing, engaging ideas, and celebration of Torah, we will celebrate innovation amongst tradition, quietude and dance.
Closing Plenary and Havdalah
Saturday, December 14, from 8 – 10 p.m.
Our final plenary will kick off with the music of both Elana Arian and Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago, then historian Deborah Lipstadt will take the stage to impart her wisdom and insight. We’ll bid farewell to Shabbat in a Havdalah led by Elana Arian and Dan Nichols, then renowned comedians from The Second City will join us for a private, personalized show.
Have questions about the URJ Biennial or how to tune in from afar? Ask them in the Biennial 2019 group in The Tent, or contact us on social media. Whether you're at the event in person or tuning in from afar, we can't wait to see you there!