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Inside Leadership
White womans hands holding a sign in Hebrew and English reading YOU SHALL NOT STAND IDLE UPON THE BLOOD OF YOUR FELLOW and concluding with the phrase BLACK LIVES MATTER

George Floyd was murdered by an officer of the law whose duty was to protect him; he died crying out for his mother, begging to breathe. Ruach Elohim, the Divine Spirit, can be understood as the Breath of Life, a gift from the Creator of All Life. To deny a human being breath is idolatrous – and George Floyd’s murder comes after countless Black and Brown people have similarly been killed and countless others have suffered the brutal systems of racism in our country. 

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Closeup of a shofar with an open prayerbook in the back of the shot

We know you are engaged in deep thinking about how to celebrate Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur with your community this year. You have shared with us the many questions that you are grappling with, including scenario-planning, how to create community at a distance, how to best use technology, understanding the impact of High Holiday themes, and how clergy, staff and lay people can work together to create your vision for these unique and holy days. 

As conversations continue about how to best help you prepare for the High Holiday season, we want to offer a bit of a timeline and...

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Smiling white couple and their Black son sitting in a synagogue with stained glass behind them

This September, our son Isaac Ray will turn 5 years old.

While we have similar hopes and aspirations for Isaac that our friends do for their children, we know that as a Black child, he will face challenges in reaching those goals that his white peers will not face.

Yes, this child of ours happily visits with staff members at his dad’s synagogue before going to school.

Yes, when he visits a new synagogue, he will politely demand to see its Torah scrolls.

Yes, a lay leader dubbed him a member of the congregation’s building and grounds committee because of his...

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Israeli flag against a white background

This moment requires a strong moral voice.

The Union for Reform Judaism and Central Conference of American Rabbis have undergone a process with our respective leadership, listened to experts, worked closely with our beloved Israeli Movement, our partners at the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), and consulted with leaders across North America.

As a Movement that puts Ahavat Yisrael as one of its highest values and with our deep commitment to Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state, we must strongly...

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A smiling couple and their young son waving happily at a computer screen while sitting together on a couch inside a home

Our world has been upended, and we all face so many painful challenges during this time. For Jewish organizations, one of the challenges of navigating this uncharted territory is how to innovate in the area of meaningful Jewish engagement while respecting the ongoing need for physical distancing.

Like all Jewish organizations, the URJ has been forced to think radically about what Jewish engagement might look like in the absence of large, in-person gatherings. How can we meet people quite literally where they are (quarantined at home) while staying true to our values around the...

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About Inside Leadership

Inside Leadership, the blog at URJ.org, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.