In 2021, many of the URJ's 15 camps engaged in the creation of a URJ-structured Racial Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (REDI) Working Group & Camp Assessment process. One of those camps was Camp George in Ontario, Canada.
I am delighted to report that the URJ North American Board recently approved new Values, Mission, and Vision statements as part of the URJ bylaws new language to our Values, Mission, and Vision statements; Section II.
URJ Online Presidential Bootcamp: Foundational Skills + Leadership = "The Right Stuff” for Presidents
We are excited to announce a new program for URJ Congregational Presidents and Presidents-Elect: The URJ Presidential Bootcamp.
A few weeks ago, I had the joy of being at the "NFTY-GER Ball," one of the many NFTY events being run by Reform teen leaders across North America. A room full of teens gathered at Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, NJ to dance, laugh, get to know one another, and celebrate Jewish life.
We are excited to announce that, thanks to a generous commitment from RootOne LLC (seeded by The Marcus Foundation and powered by The Jewish Education Project), the certificate will now be worth $3,250!* We hope that this increased amount allows all Reform Jewish teens to travel to Israel as a rite of passage.
Could you imagine a new Reform congregation in Latin America, Eastern Europe, or Asia that has congregants, a rabbi, and a strong desire to increase their Jewish knowledge and connection, but no Torah? If you have more than enough or know of scrolls left without a home after a congregational merger or closing, we hope that you might consider giving or lending a scroll to a congregation that needs one.
One of the most consistent messages we hear from congregational presidents is that they often feel alone with the heavy weight of responsibility for their congregation. While we encourage and work with them to build sacred partnerships with professionals, clergy, and fellow lay leaders at their congregations, we also hear that they want to be connected to people who are in the same role at other congregations.
With Hanukkah around the corner, we are excited to soon share our next "Our Story Your Table" downloadable activity book. In collaboration with Highlights Magazine, we developed a kids' activity book for all ages, featuring Hanukkah-themed jokes, activities, games, and a Highlights favorite, the "Seek and Find" puzzle.
During the COVID pandemic in southern California, we saw our Jewish communities weaken. From our camp spaces disappearing to our teen youth groups (TYG) struggling, many of us stopped programming and decreased in membership, while a few of us thrived the best way we knew how - by joining forces. For us, as youth directors, advisors, and educators, we knew this was the way to keep teens inspired and engaged with one another.
The URJ's Hadrachah (which means leadership) program teaches lay leaders a variety of skills to help them support and lead communal worship and lifecycle events like funerals and baby namings. The Hadrachah program is intended for small congregations with no more than one full-time clergy member.