Announcing the Relaunch of the URJ’s Websites

New design and functionality for URJ.org, RAC.org, and ReformJudaism.org
September 15, 2020Jill Peltzman

You may have noticed that the Union for Reform Judaism’s websites – URJ.org, RAC.org, and ReformJudaism.org – have a new look… but there’s so much more to them than just a pretty new design.

In addition to the creative, original content that you already know and love, our new sites also offer various upgrades in the way of user experience, accessibility, technology, and more. Here’s a peek at what you can expect from our new sites:

  • Faster, more ADA-compliant and accessible, more mobile-friendly. We always strive to be more inclusive and accessible, and this is a big step forward in those efforts. (Learn more about Section 508 and exactly what this means.)
  • More connected: Easily access any of our three main sites using the blue menu bar at the at the very top of the sites. What’s more, using the search function on any of the sites will allow you to easily search all three sites at once.
  • A new Youth Program Finder: Search all the URJ’s camps and youth programs, including social justice, travel, and virtual offerings to find the right one for you. Coming soon: a quiz to help you identify the best program for your child.
  • A robust events calendar: Submit your congregation’s events, whether in-person or virtual, to have them added to our integrated calendar. It combines Jewish holidays, Torah portions, events, and classes in one calendar that is searchable by event type and location.
  • RSS feeds to use on your websites: Add the feeds at org/rss-feeds to your site to maintain up-to-date information on your congregational website.
  • A searchable directory of Judaism classes: Hosting Taste of Judaism, Intro to Judaism, or other types of educational programs? Submit your class using this form. Visitors can locate classes near them, as well as viewing only virtual classes.
  • A “live” congregational directory on all three websites: Make any update to your congregational records in The Reform Movement Marketplace and your changes will be immediately visible on your congregation’s page in our congregational directory. While you’re updating your listing, make sure to check off the appropriate boxes if you offer streaming services, High Holiday opportunities for non-members, early childhood education, ASL-interpreted services, and other offerings; doing so will ensure that your congregational offerings are included when we promote those filtered searches of the congregational directories.)

We’ve also enhanced our congregational directory search. The directory search now works better than before, with more accurate results, plus:

  • Visitors to the sites are prompted to allow the site to know their location, so they can more easily locate a congregation near them.
  • Visitors are encouraged to set a “default” congregation, which will allow that congregation’s directory link to consistently appear at the top of every page they visit.

Other new features of note:

  • The glossary and baby name searches now include Hebrew.
  • We’ve added a new glossary tool tip feature: Throughout the sites, certain common Hebrew words are now highlighted in blue; as users move the mouse over the highlighted word, a definition will pop up.
  • Our recipe search is easier to use, letting visitors easily preview ingredient lists.
  • Our database of more than 2,000 Torah commentaries is more searchable by book, portion, and target age (Torah for teens, tweens, and tots).
  • The RAC site has updated and enhanced issues pages that detail all aspects on highlighted topics, as well as new pages for state-based projects.

And coming soon…

  • Interactive blessings provided by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR): In partnership with the CCAR, ReformJudaism.org will have an interactive teaching tool incorporated into selected blessings. Users will be able to listen to audio of the blessing being chanted or read, while seeing each word Hebrew and transliteration simultaneously highlighted as they follow along. Here’s an early peek.

A quick note: As with any website redesign, building and formatting the many thousands of pages of content is an ongoing work in progress. If you spot any issue or simply need a hand finding something, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. We thank you for your patience during the early days of our relaunch.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about all of these new features, designed to bring you a first-class experience on URJ.org, ReformJudaism.org, and RAC.org, and making it easier to enrich your Jewish life and engage with the URJ’s congregations and programs.

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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