Just One Week Until Biennial! Here's What You Need to Know

Inside Leadership

Just One Week Until Biennial! Here's What You Need to Know

People walking down a hallway with Biennial signage behind them as if on their way to programming

We're less than one week away from the start of the URJ Biennial, and we know you have questions about what to expect in the way of logistics. Here, we answer some of your most pressing questions – and you can find a more robust FAQ on the Biennial website.

"Do I need to register for individual sessions in advance? How?"

  • Yes! Badges will be scanned at all non-plenary sessions and those who have added the session to their schedule in the app will be seated first, and will be guaranteed a seat. (Note, please, that some sessions have additional fees that need to be paid in advance.)
  • If you have not signed up for a session, you will be asked to wait until all pre-registrants enter first. We will do our best to accommodate everyone; but even in big rooms the capacity is finite. Save your spot today on the app!

"What is the app? How do I get it?"

  • The Biennial app has all the schedule information, Exhibit Hall information, maps of the convention center, and most other things you need to know to get around Biennial. It also contains the Biennial Code of Conduct, which you should review before arriving.
  • It is available for most mobile operating systems. Download the app now!

"I don't know what to expect!"

We're here to help:

"What do I need to bring with me?"

A few suggestions:

  • In an effort to go green, we're not printing copies of the schedule or program book – so bring your smartphone or tablet so make sure to download the Biennial app in advance.
  • Bring cash to leave for your hotel housekeepers and others who provide excellent service.
  • Did we mention "Pack your most comfortable shoes"? We have now. We're serious about this one.
  • Finally, save room in your suitcase for the goodies you purchase in our Exhibit Hall, which features 150 artisans, Israel travel operators, Jewish publishers, and more.

"How do I get to my hotel and/or the convention center?"

That depends where you're coming from! If you're flying:

  • Travel between O'Hare Airport ORD) and McCormick Center averages 50-60 minutes by taxi.
  • Travel between Midway Airport (MDW) and McCormick Center averages 30-40 minutes by taxi.
  • Discounted airport shuttles are available through our dedicated booking site.
  • Driving to Biennial? Please use Lot A at McCormick Center. You can even reserve and pay in advance!
  • Walking time from the Marriott Marquis and Hyatt Regency hotels to McCormick Center is about 10 minutes. Both hotels are connected to the convention via Skybridge; you will not need to go outside.

"What are my food options?"

Meal packages vary based on your registration option:

  • Full-event registration and Friday-Sunday registration includes Shabbat lunch and dinner, light breakfast on Saturday, and Sunday brunch

Food is also available for purchase in a number of locations:

  • McCormick Center has a food court, Starbucks, and vending carts (including a kosher cart) that will be open during designated Biennial hours. (This link will open the app, so you may need to sign in in order to view it.)
  • There are also dozens of restaurants a quick taxi ride away. Check out our lists of suggested spots (This link will also open the app; you may need to sign in to view it.)
  • Additionally, both the Marriott Marquis and the Hyatt Regency have food courts located on the lobby level.

"Is there a hashtag for the Biennial?"

Of course there is! Follow #URJBiennial on social media to see what people are saying throughout the event and share your impressions as well. You can also follow the URJ on TwitterFacebook, and  Instagram – and encourage others to do the same.

"Can my friends and family watch the Biennial online?"

Yes! Know someone who'd love to join us from afar? Share the Biennial livestream schedule with them.

"Are there any security measures I should be aware of?"

The safety and security of our attendees is our highest priority. Attendees will be asked to submit to security screening that include bag searches and passing through metal detectors. Please note that no luggage will be allowed through security screening.

To expedite security screening for yourself and for all attendees, please minimize what you take with you each day and make sure that your badge (which participants are required to wear at all times) is readily visible when you approach the screening point.

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Kate Bigam Kaput is the assistant director of messaging and branding for the Union for Reform Judaism and, in this role, serves as a content manager and editor for ReformJudaism.org. A prolific essayist and lifestyle blogger, Kate's writing has been featured in The Washington PostEsquire, Woman's Day, Cleveland Magazine, HeyAlma.com, Jewish Women Archive, and more. Kate, who grew up at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, OH, holds a degree in magazine journalism and lives in Cleveland, OH, with her husband.

Kate Bigam Kaput

Published: 12/05/2019

Categories: Conferences & Events

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