Are You In? 5 Takeaways from the 2019 URJ Biennial

Inside Leadership

Are You In? 5 Takeaways from the 2019 URJ Biennial

People taking a smiling selfie in front of a Biennial backdrop

At the URJ Biennial, thousands of Jews gathered to learn, pray, share ideas, hear from inspiring speakers and Jewish leaders, and make decisions about the future of Reform Judaism – but the Biennial’s impact doesn’t end when the conference does. With the 2019 URJ Biennial in our rear-view mirror, we’re now focused on how we can move this work forward and into our everyday lives.

If you’re ready to advance the work of the Reform Movement in your congregation and community, say “I’m in!” by completing this form, which will record your commitment and indicate your intent to continue in this holy work. Once you’ve submitted the form, sit tight; we’ll be in touch soon with next steps.

Ready to act? Here are the five areas you can commit to and ask for more information about.

1.  Expand participation of the next generation

The concept of l’dor vador, “generation to generation,” drives so much of our work for the Jewish people. How do we continue our legacy and ensure that Reform Judaism thrives long into the future?

When you choose this option, we ask you to commit to one or more of the following:

  • Refer at least one potential participant for a URJ camp, NFTY, or other youth program
  • Host a gathering of at least five families to help spread the word about URJ camping opportunities for children, teens, and families
  • Learn how to make the most of Tot Shabbat and other ways to connect families with young children with my congregation
  • Learn more about connecting people in their 20s and 30s to Jewish life

2. Participate in the Reform Movement's 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign

We believe that our democracy is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to participate. As we work to fulfill the sacred mandate of tikkun olam, world repair, nonpartisan civic engagement in service of our enduring values is an essential way that we stay active in our communities.

When you choose this option, we ask you to commit to one or more of the following:

In the meantime, learn more in this blog post from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and by visiting rac.org/cec.

3. Be an agent of change in your congregation

Why do we talk so much about congregational change? Because we know that only in changing with the times can Jewish life remain strong, robust, innovative, and thriving. The URJ is ready to support your congregation as you work to move up the change continuum.

When you choose this option, we ask you to commit to one or more of the following:

  • Explore how your congregation compares to URJ congregational benchmarks
  • Learn about bringing a URJ board workshop to your congregation
  • Learn about areas in which you can help create change in your congregation.

In the meantime, this blog post from URJ Vice President of Strengthening Congregations Amy Asin shares a preview of how your congregation can begin to move forward.

4. Vote Reform in the World Zionist Congress elections

The 2020 World Zionist Congress elections are coming soon, and your congregation’s participation is critical to maintaining a large Reform presence in Israel and at home.

When you choose this option, we ask you to commit to one or more of the following:

  • Request more information about the World Zionist Congress elections
  • Designate a World Zionist Congress Congregational Captain Organize an election team in my congregation
  • Pledge to vote in the World Zionist Congress elections January-March 2020.

In the meantime, to learn more about the World Zionist Congress elections, find answers to frequently asked questions and join the Israel group in The Tent.

5. Address equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in my congregation

Audacious Hospitality is the focused effort to embrace our diversity and reach out to those currently not engaged in Jewish life – rooted in the knowledge that we are a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we fully welcome and incorporate the diversity that is the reality of modern Jewish life.

When you choose this option, we ask you to commit to one or more of the following:

  • Assess your congregation's diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts using resources from the Audacious Hospitality Toolkit
  • Schedule a training about equity, inclusion, and anti-racism

In the meantime, learn more by reading Rabbi Rick Jacobs' address to the URJ Biennial.

So what are you waiting for? Say “I’m in!” by completing this form to record your commitment and indicate your intent. We can’t wait to continue in this holy work together.

Have something to say about this post? Join the conversation in The Tent, the communications and collaboration platform for congregational leaders of the Reform Movement. You can also tweet us or tell us how you feel on Facebook.

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