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Inside Leadership
Old fashioned red alarm clock with white face and bells on top against a turquoise background
Open palm outstretched to golden fall leaves and sunshine
Two enthusiastic camp counselors holding a hand painted sign that reads WELCOME HOME

During my recent travels to various camps in my new role working with URJ camps, NFTY, and year-round retreats in North America, I was very moved by the ruach, or spirit, of participants, staff, faculty, parents, and community leaders who comprise the camp mishpacha, family. I noticed the smiles, laughter, and playfulness of children; how staff nurtured their campers; the variety of activities that filled each day with fun and joyful, meaningful Judaism; and the abundance of songs, cheers, blessings, prayers, art, and wisdom.

I also noticed how I was welcomed with warmth and a “...

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Smiling young children wearing Purim costumes and sitting on the bimah in a synagogue

In the coming weeks, the hallways of our congregations will be overflowing with preschool students and High Holiday crowds – and some of the families that will step through our doors will be longtime members, while others will be new to the community. Whether or not your congregation has an early childhood education center (ECEC), you have the opportunity to leverage these critical entry (or re-entry) points into Jewish life and engage these families.

Relating to and supporting families with young children is essential to growing and strengthening your congregation. To help you in...

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Josh Nelson performing on stage in front of a blue background

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Second City.

Yes, that Second City!

Its legendary alumni include Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Martin Short, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Keegan-Michael Key, and more. And this year, the world’s first name in live laughter brings the funny with a customized improv-sketch comedy performance tailored exclusively for the URJ Biennial's live audience. You definitely want to be in this room – and that’s no joke.

We're also thrilled to share that this year's Biennial will feature not just one...

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Collage of images of past JewVNation fellowship cohorts

The concepts and values of diversity, equity, and inclusion (often abbreviated to simply “DEI”) are central to Judaism. More than just a belief system, DEI includes our communication styles and platforms, the actions we do or do not take, and the policies we uphold, abide by, and change.  If we are truly seeking inclusive Jewish communities,  everything we do must be rooted in the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Because this work is...

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Colorful image of a data growth chart against a white background as if on a desk

In 2016, the Union for Reform Judaism piloted an experiment. What would it look like if congregations could take an intentional look at themselves from different vantage points? What if each congregation could compare its internal data to congregations of like demographics? And what if we assigned each congregation a URJ-trained mentor to help them understand the data and catalyze change based on the results?

And so, the URJ Congregational Benchmarking and Assessment Project was born.

Since...

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About Inside Leadership

Inside Leadership, the blog at URJ.org, is a source for Reform Jewish leaders to get the latest news and though-provoking articles about Jewish communal life.