As the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, we’re all adjusting to new realities. Our URJ staffers are working hard to chart new courses of action during these uncertain times, creating opportunities and venues for continue to create the transformative connections that are at the core of our Reform Jewish Movement.
As we round up resources of critical help to congregations, we're also creating content for our educational website, ReformJudaism.org, to help members of our community find new ways to "do Jewish" from home. From Torah study to Shabbat ideas, family discussion guides to favorite Jewish Netflix shows, this content is designed to help your congregants stay busy and Jewishly engaged.
Bookmark this list and check back frequently, as we'll continue to update it as new resources become available. Looking for something not listed here? Head to the Communications group in The Tent to let us know.
Help your members stay engaged with their Judaism from home by sharing helpful, relevant, and interesting Jewish content on your social media channels, congregational website, email communications, and more. Here's a list to get you started.
Jewish Wisdom in Times of Crisis
During a time of fear and uncertainty, the following pieces can help members of our community think about the current situation through a Jewish lens.
- We’ve Been Here Before: Spiritual Wisdom for Enduring Coronavirus: Perhaps the Book of Numbers can provide insight into the current crisis.
- The Holiness of Handwashing: Lessons from Ancient Jewish Wisdom and Instagram Celebs: How can we find gratitude and grounding while handwashing?
- What Does Jewish Tradition Say About Health and Wellness?: Here's our faith tradition's insight into staying healthy.
As most congregations turn to the online streaming of Shabbat services and other programming, now is the time to provide your community with helpful resources about Shabbat home observance. When you share information about your upcoming livestreams, consider, too, including our Shabbat page and/or the following resources:
- How to Create a Meaningful Shabbat Experience from Home: These ideas will help congregants make the most of Shabbat, even when they can’t come to synagogue.
- 3 Ways to Bring Shabbat Home: Help congregants recreate certain elements of synagogue life from home.
- Blessings for Home Observance: Find all the blessings you need to spend Shabbat at home.
- Shabbat Blessings for Families with Young Children: Three animated videos teach kids the Shabbat blessings.
- Teach Your Children the Mitzvot of Shabbat: We explain these four mitzvot and suggest ideas and family activities that fulfill them.
- Playlist for an Enjoyable Shabbat with Your Family: Here's a Spotify playlist of family-friendly Shabbat songs popular at Jewish camps and schools.
Observing Shabbat from the home provides individuals with the opportunity to study Torah on their own and to engage in thought-provoking at-home discussions with their families about Torah. Share our main Torah Study page, which includes the weekly parashiyot, commentaries, voice recordings, and more.
Consider the following, as well:
- Podcast: On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah: Each week offers divrei Torah about Jewish thought and its contemporary influence.
- Tips for Leading a Weekly Family Discussion: Help parents guide their families in engaging conversations about Torah.
- For age-appropriate resource guides, see:
To recieve new content related to each week's Torah portion, subscribe to the Monday edition of Ten Minutes of Torah, which delivers a new d'var Torah and davar acher to your inbox at the top of each week.
- How to Make Your Virtual Seder Lively, Engaging, and Meaningful: This multi-part resource can help congregants learn how to re-imagine usual traditions and incorporate digital content that will enliven the virtual rendition of their Passover seder.
- Reform Haggadot: CCAR Press offers Reform haggadot and additional Passover resources, including ebooks.
As your leadership strives to provide spiritual guidance and reassurance to your community, we've gathered an ongoing list of prayers, poems, and other resources to keep your congregants fortified. Prayer Amid Pandemic: Words of Comfort for the COVID-19 Crisis is being regularly updated as new liturgy becomes available.
Families with Young Children
With schools and child care centers closed, many parents now find themselves at home with young children, day in and day out, and in search of ways to keep them both entertained and educated.
Our Parenting page includes countless resources, videos, crafts, activity ideas, and more to help fill the time in meaningful and Jewishly engaging ways, and our Jewish Family Life page is a one-stop location for recipes, crafts, videos, articles, and holiday traditions.
- Jewish books for kids: Find overviews and discussion guides on a variety of Jewish children's books.
- Jewish parenting podcasts: These curated podcast episodes provide Jewish wisdom and practical guidance on a variety of topics.
- Jewish Life in Your Family Life Newsletter: This newsletter share resources for families to use to enhance their holiday celebrations and Jewish living.
- Big Questions for Families with Young Children: These prompts are designed to help parents to start Jewish conversations with their children.
- How to Talk to Kids about Bad Things Happening in the World: Though not specific to the current crisis, this guide helps parents address difficult topics.
- ReformJudaism’s Pinterest boards: Browse our online collection of recipes, crafts, Jewish traditions, and holiday ideas.
- Shaboom! videos and discussion guides: This animated web series teaches Jewish values through magic, comedy, and songs. Of relevance are:
- Teaching Children about Peace in the Home (Shalom Bayit): We could all heed this lesson right now!
- Teaching Children about Being Grateful for What They Have (Hakarat Hatov): This lesson is important even (and perhaps especially) when things feel difficult.
- 9 Jewish Activities to Try When You’re Cooped Up at Home with Kids: From virtual tours to Jewishly themed crafts, we're here to help.
- 'Homeshuling' Under Quarantine: Fun Jewish Videos for Virtual Learning: Here are four videos to spark connections to Judaism through digital storytelling.
Food and Recipes
During this time of social isolation and physical distancing, cooking and baking can serve as a welcome and calming distraction – even for those who don't typically do so. Share our main Food and Recipes page, browse our vast collection of Jewish recipes, or share one of these themed roundups.
- 21 Jewish Recipes That Use Ingredients You Already Have at Home: What can you cook when you can't get to the grocery store?
- 18 Easy-to-Make Jewish Comfort Foods: These Jewishly inspired recipes are perfect for beginners.
- All Things Challah: This round-up includes 14 recipes, plus helpful hacks.
- Cooking Like Camp: Our All-Time Favorite Recipes: URJ Camps share their best recipes to recreate at home.
Art and Culture
With so much time to spend at home, everyone is looking for shows to watch, books to read, new hobbies to try, etc. We're doing our best to create and adapt content that will help members of our community stay busy, pass the time, and remain Jewishly engaged, all at once.
- Books and Literature page: This landing page includes book reviews, discussion guides, and more.
- Book reviews: Browse more than 150 reviews of Jewishly themed books.
- 9 Social Justice Books to Read Right Now: Dive into books about issues that we all have a responsibility to tackle.
TV and Movies:
- 10 Movies Showcasing the Best of American Jewish Life: Originally written for Jewish American History Month, this list celebrates the happy, sad, and hilarious of American Jewry.
- 14 Great Jewish TV Shows to Binge Under Quarantine: Steaming services offer endless shows to choose from, many of them with Jewish themes. Happy streaming!
- These Are the Most Binge-Worthy Jewish (and Jew-ish) Shows on Netflix: Find your new favorite show!
Music and Podcasts:
- A Pandemic Playlist: Jewish and Secular Songs for This Moment: This Spotify playlist includes songs, both Jewish and secular, to bring us courage and strength.
- 5 Jewish Stories to Listen to on Your Own or with Kids: Here are the top five episodes of our Jewish storytelling podcast.
- 6 Jewish Podcasts to Listen to Right Now: Here are six Jewish podcasts to help you engage with your Judaism from home.
- The Jewish Song that Comforts Me in Uncertain Times: As we traverse the narrow bridge in front of us, this song can provide a musical roadmap.
- Israel, Coronavirus, and Slivers of Hope for the Future: Rabbi Josh Weinberg shares the situation in Israel right now, related to both the virus and the recent election results.
- Israeli Poems to Get Us Through Times of Fear and Isolation: Rabbi Alex Kress writes about song for "[traversing] the narrow bridge in front of us."
With some communities more susceptible to health and economic shocks, the Reform Movement is calling upon Congress to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our communities have, at the very least, affordable and quality health care, paid sick days, and support to provide nutrition and shelter for themselves and their families throughout this emergency.
- A Report from the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic - and How You Can Help: The CEO of a a non-profit community health center shares what's happing on the ground.
- The Jewish Imperative for Justice in the Face of Pandemic: Rabbi Jonah Pesner asks us to commit to fight for justice during this unprecedented moment of need.
- Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, We Urge Congress Protect the Most Vulnerable: RAC Legislative Director Allison Grossman outlines our legislative priorities.
- Action Alert: Urge Congress Protect the Vulnerable During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The RAC's online tool makes it easy to write to elected officials.