The COVID-19 outbreak has forced us to practice physical distancing – but not social distancing. In fact, now more than ever is a time to demonstrate and create space for the power of community. By being creative and connecting online, we can create community in lieu of in-person gatherings, bringing solace and comfort to those in isolation.
In recent weeks, the URJ has created and highlighted a myriad of resources to help congregational leaders gather in community online – from streaming services to technical training to discounts on relevant technology.
For your convenience, we’ve gathered all of these resources in one place, broken down by topic.
- [Webinar] Zoom Training for Clergy, Educators, and Lay Leaders: Looking to gather your community online, but need a technical orientation? Watch this URJ tutorial on how to use Zoom, a flexible and powerful tool for virtual meetings. This webinar was specifically designed to meet the needs of congregational clergy, educators, and lay leaders.
- Guidelines to Prep for Zoombombing: Rabbi Chase Foster has created this great guide, which outlines what to do if uninvited guests join your virtual call.
- The Reform Movement Marketplace: We've recently announced the launch of this platform, which offers discounted licenses for livestreaming, virtual meetings, and other vital services to URJ member congregations.
- “How to Stream Services (Or Anything Else): A Guide for Jewish Communities”: Designed to help congregations that are new to streaming, this document includes explanations, step-by-step directions, a technological checklist, copyright information, and more.
- [Webinar] Movement Worship Streaming: This recent session, hosted in partnership with the CCAR, teaches more about streaming services and other congregational programming.
- "Adult Education, Small Group Gatherings, & Experiential Learning for Adults in an Online Setting: A Guide for Jewish Communities": This universal, comprehensive resource, created by the URJ, HUC-JIR, ARJE, and PEP-RJ, focuses on the “how” and “why” of streaming. It includes creative and relational advice, as well as technical advice and support.
- [Webinar] Adult Education, Small Group Gatherings, Experiential Learning for Adults in an Online Setting: This session includes advice about virtual learning strategies, tools, and tricks for virtually engaging adults.
- [Webinar] Virtual Small Groups in an Age of COVID-19: In an era of physical distancing, staying connected is more important than ever. Learn how to use to the Zoom to continue the work of small group engagement for your congregants.
- [Webinar] Strategies for Ongoing Jewish Learning in a Time of Coronavirus: Hosted in collaboration with ARJE and HUC-JIR, this session provides helpful principles and advice from experts.
- [Webinar] Responding to Coronavirus through Digital Engagement: This webinar from the Jewish Education Project provides best principles of building community online while meeting your content goals in this time of uncertainty.
- "10 Critical Insights for Successful Online Gatherings": These recommendations are divided into three categories: Technical smarts, cultural skillfulness, and strategic value.
Online Liturgical and Music Resources
- Free and discounted liturgical resources: You and your community members can access online versions of Mishkan T'filah, liturgical resources, and additional ebooks on CCAR Press’ website.
- Transcontinental Music provides a wealth of online music resources, including print and digital copies of sheet music, digital song books, recordings, and more.
- J•License: J•License allows you to legally stream and podcast (store recorded streams) covered songs in any worship service and lifecycle, concert, or other event for your community. There are special prices for URJ member congregations.
This time apart provides opportunities for experimenting with creative programming in order to forge meaningful connections.
- "7 Creative Ways to Gather Virtually": It's time to get innovative. Here are a few easy-to-implement examples to try in your community.
- Ask Big Questions Guides: Download these guides for congregational leaders, plus an introductory resource to help make the most of them.
- Ben Franklin Circle Curriculum: This toolkit, created by the URJ, 92Y, and Central Synagogue, is designed to help you to facilitate a powerful dialogue about Jewish and American values.
We hope these resources can be helpful to you in gathering your community online. Keep an eye on this space, which will be updated as we continue to add additional resources. Additionally, if you have a virtual event that is open to the public, submit it for inclusion on the Reform Movement Calendar.
Looking for a specific resource or want to review everything we have to offer? Check out “How Reform Congregations are Coping with COVID-19 (and Tools to Help),” which is being updated as new resources become available.