One of the most consistent messages we hear from congregational presidents is that they often feel alone with the heavy weight of responsibility for their congregation. While we encourage and work with them to build sacred partnerships with professionals, clergy, and fellow lay leaders at their congregations, we also hear that they want to be connected to people who are in the same role at other congregations.
On the Jewish calendar, the start of the month of Elul signifies the beginning of the High Holiday season. As individuals, it is during this time that we begin the process of cheshbon hanefesh (accounting of the soul), reflecting on the past year. So too, it is important for your leadership and community to reflect on the past year and consider how to do better moving forward.
It is hard to believe that we are entering the third High Holiday season with the words "new normal" ringing in the back of our minds. This year, our leaders - clergy, professionals, and volunteers alike - are leaning into the possibilities and making plans for the new Jewish year of 5783.
As part of our ongoing efforts to create safe, respectful, and equitable workplaces, the URJ requires all staff to regularly participate in sexual harassment prevention training classes, provided by Traliant Compliance Training. Now, through the Reform Movement Marketplace, the URJ is making Traliant Compliance Training classes available to our affiliated congregations at a reduced cost.
If you're one of the many people creating digital content - whether you write for a blog, deliver PowerPoint presentations, manage a website, share your videos on YouTube, or simply send emails to communicate with people in your community - it is important to learn about what accessible content is, and how to create it.
The first of July is the day you can engage both new and experienced leaders on your board, help ensure they do their jobs well, and play a meaningful role in leading the congregation. With your support and guidance, your trustees can lead with wisdom informed by our shared tradition, the history of the community, and the best expertise the Reform Movement has to offer.
I write about International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3, 2021) as a quadriplegic wheelchair user and as a Jewish woman accustomed to advocating for physical inclusion in places of worship. I am all too familiar with common barriers to access and have offered potential solutions.