Meet eight award-winning congregations that have developed innovative programs rooted in the concepts of audacious hospitality that also engage and retain members.
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Throughout the course of 12 years, Temple Shalom in Succasunna, N.J., experienced a number of hardships, ranging from financial difficulties to a decline in membership. As it turned out, though, the thing that would inspire this community to thrive once again was, well, the very community itself.
How do you lead a congregation and create cohesive community when your synagogue exists between two distinct communities? That was one of the challenges facing Oak Park Temple, which sits between the west Chicago suburbs and the northwest part of Chicago in the suburb of Oak Park, where more young families are increasingly relocating
For individuals handling addiction and in recovery, the act of engaging with others as part of Jewish holidays and celebrations can be difficult.
Until recently, engaging Jewishly has not been easy for Israelis in Santa Barbara, CA, where religious life and Jewish identity are quite different than back home.
Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, CA, created Camp Nefesh, a full-service day camp for newly arrived refugees. To learn more about this 2019 Belin Award-winning initiative, we spoke with Lucy Beckett, the teenager who dreamt up the concept, as well as Denise Crevin, the congregation’s director of education, and Sharon Rogoff of Women of B’nai Israel.
This Congregation is Teaching Jewish Leaders to Better Affirm Trans and Queer-Identifying Community Members
The Reform community’s is committed to the full equality and inclusion of people of all gender identities and gender expressions. Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX, decided to implement this value in its Gender Identity Training program, which won the congregation a 2019 Belin Award
As liberal Jews in the modern world, we are not only willing to engage with the modern world, but we embrace it.
A number of Reform congregations recently received Belin Outreach and Membership Awards or honorable mentions from the URJ for their work to promote authentic, meaningful relationships among members.
“Audacious hospitality isn’t just a temporary act of kindness so people don’t feel excluded. It’s an ongoing invitation to be part of community – and a way to spiritually transform ourselves in the process.” – Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform JudaismIt’s not always easy to offer the sort of “audacious hospitality” Rabbi Jacobs encourages, but many Reform congregations are rising to the challenge. These exceptional congregations excel at welcoming seekers and engaging prospective and current members – and the URJ is looking for the ones that do it best. Once again this year, we’ll honor eight congregations with Belin Outreach and Membership Awards for creative, original, and outstanding initiatives that promote audacious hospitality. From now through May 21, your congregation can submit an application for a 2015 Belin Outreach and Membership Award. Winning congregations will receive a $1,000 cash award and will be recognized at the URJ Biennial in Orlando, FL, in November.