This summer, Rabbi Jeff Glickman and his wife, Mindy Glickman, volunteered to visit our smallest and most remote URJ congregations (those with 150 households or fewer) on their RV travels across North America. Rabbi Glickman, who recently retired from his pulpit at Temple Beth Hillel in South Windsor, Connecticut, has a passion for small congregations and wanted to connect with our Movement on an even deeper level.
The Glickmans reached out to the URJ to make their trip official. We designated them as URJ ambassadors while our staff connected them with small congregations. This initiative, aside from URJ staff time, was generously self-funded by the Glickmans.
Most of their visits were informal. Even so, the Glickmans presented each congregation with a commemorative Ner Tamid (Eternal Light) medal to thank them for "keeping the light of Reform Judaism burning" for so many years.
When asked why they were interested in embarking on this journey, Rabbi Glickman shared:
"You cannot be Jewish alone. For the most important parts of our faith, you need community. All Jews are indebted to each community that keeps the light of Judaism burning. We were able to make this trip and visit these communities. We wanted to recognize their efforts and thank them. As we did, we were proud to represent the Reform Movement."
The Glickmans began their journey late last summer in Maine, traveling southwest through the heartland to Yuma, Arizona, where Rabbi Glickman led High Holiday services for Congregation Beth HaMidbar (House of the Wilderness), a community of 15 households. They then spent the next month traveling through the western United States and into Victoria, Canada. From there, they traveled to Montana and through the Mountain states before ending their trek in Los Angeles in late October. They drove over 10,500 miles and visited 36 congregations.