Mark J. Pelavin

Mark J. Pelavin

Inside Leadership
Biennial crowd during a plenary session

To my mother’s great dismay, I do not remember my first trip to Disneyland. I hear I had a great time, but that may be family lore! My kids’ first trip, however, I remember like it was yesterday – even though it was, gulp, before there was much of an internet! 

I was surprised by the advice offered by my friends and the tour books – the trip would be amazing provided we planned our schedule. I was nonplussed; it was an amusement park vacation. Wasn’t the point to relax and enjoy it?

Like much of life – and most certainly when it comes to Disneyland and the URJ Biennial –...

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Apple shaped bowl of honey with a honey dipper in it and half an apple on a table next to it

As with so many things this year, it was an unusual year for Rosh HaShanah sermons. As Rabbi Jonathan Freirich of Temple Beth Zion in Buffalo, NY, explained:

"Under normal circumstances I would never present something mostly from another source. These are not normal circumstances.

"The Central Conference of American Rabbis crafted a united message for [rabbis] to adapt and offer, to bring to our congregations in one voice, as a Reform Movement and as Reform rabbis. The events of the last year demand that we come together as American patriots for the sake of our American...

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Various pens, pencils, and screwdrivers, side-by-side in front of a wooden background

We are living in unprecedented times that are challenging us in exceptional ways. They’re also making congregational life and its sacred partnerships more vital than ever. The URJ’s partnerships with our member congregations are among our most valued relationships and in that vein, we are highlighting some timely tools and resources to help you enhance and enrich Jewish life in your community during this High Holiday season – and throughout the coming year.

Hurricane Relief: Although the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has dissipated, countless individuals and numerous Reform... Read More

House with damage from hurricane/beach erosion

Although the wrath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has dissipated, countless individuals and numerous Reform congregations were affected by the storms, and their needs will continue for months to come.

Update: Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

We’re extremely grateful for so many donors’ generous support to the URJ’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (now closed), which was instrumental in supporting the work of URJ Greene Family Camp and our other community partners in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

These organizations are continuing to accept donations to assist...

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Palm trees bending against strong winds as ocean water laps against them in a storm

As this week comes to a close and we prepare to welcome Shabbat, we’d like to share an update on the Reform Movement’s work in responding to Hurricane Harvey. Now also focusing on Hurricane Irma, we’re fully mobilized to assist our congregations and community in its path. 

Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp Ends 

Yesterday was the last day of the Hurricane Harvey Houston Day Camp, run by URJ Greene Family Camp in partnership with the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston, at Congregation Emanu El. The camp provided much-needed childcare for families who were putting...

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