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Inside Leadership
Metal compass on a wooden surface

In the last few weeks, my congregational community, like others around the world, has spent a great deal of time and energy formulating a plan to deal with the myriad of possible situations and decisions associated with the advent of COVID-19.

As we struggle to consider all our options in this ever-changing environment, we strive to make decisions using a values-based matrix that will help us to act in a consistent manner that is in line with Jewish tradition and modern sensibility.

1. Pikuach Nefesh / Saving a Life

This is the most important Jewish value. Our sacred texts...

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Womans hands on a laptop keyboard as she sits on a couch

In these last weeks, our Jewish community has been unexpectedly turned upside down by new restrictions caused by the spread of COVID-19. Rabbi, cantors, educators, and all Jewish professionals have been moving quickly to figure out responses to connect despite social distancing.

As Jews, we know how to connect. We know that connection across distance matters. It’s at the core of who we are. Just as our ancestors gained strength knowing that there were other Jews around the world, so too does our connection across physical distance give us strength and nourish our resilience.

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Womans hand on a laptop keyboard with a seder playing on the computer screen

Passover is a highly experiential holiday, a time when we typically come together with family, friends, and the rest of our community in celebration of our Judaism – remembering our past and anticipating our future. For some families, this is the one time of year when they join together in person to share traditions, tell stories, and create lasting memories.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us, the world over, in an unprecedented position: Although we cannot share physical spaces, modern technology allows us to gather virtually, so that we may still create the...

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Home office setup with a Shabbat scene displayed on screen

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...

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Group of smiling URJ Heller High students standing on a sandy hill in Israel

On March 1, I arrived in Israel to visit the 87 teenagers I had brought there just five weeks earlier. Within hours, the world turned upside-down.

I’m the director of admissions for URJ Heller High in Israel, an American accredited high school on a kibbutz just outside Jerusalem. Each semester dozens of Jewish teens leave their home schools for Israel, where in addition to the usual math and chemistry and literature, they study Jewish history and Hebrew. The whole country is their classroom.

For students and staff alike, it is an...

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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.