Steps You Can Take to Increase the Security of Your Community
The recent events of Colleyville, TX taught us that security training works and that having staff throughout your synagogue who are prepared to respond during the worst of circumstances can make your site more secure.
Why Your Congregation Should be an ARZA Member!
The URJ is the largest Zionist organization in North America and after two years of COVID-19, a new government, and a growing Israeli Reform Movement, Israel needs us now more than ever. Israel needs our voices, our involvement, and our support. Infusing your congregation with an Israel commitment through an ARZA membership is a meaningful way to directly support the Jewish State.
What Makes a Community? It's the People
A few years ago, when my son was still pretty young, we were heading out to participate in Friday night services for families with young children. When he asked where we were heading, I said, "We're going to Temple Micah." We weren't going to the building on Wisconsin Avenue that is Temple Micah, we were heading to a local coffee shop and bookstore where services were being held. But to me, that was Temple Micah. The people we would see, the feeling we would get by being together - all of that was Temple Micah - not the temple building itself.
Rosa Parks's Legacy Endures Today
Many Americans remember Rosa Parks as the tired seamstress who refused to move to the back of a bus, but Rosa Parks is much more than that story: though she did not identify as Jewish, her life reflected a commitment that we might identify as tikkun olam – repairing what is broken in our world. Here are three key insights from Rosa Parks’ life we can bear in mind as Black History Month begins.
Introduction to Judaism: Five Best Practices to Try
Supporting newcomers to Judaism and helping them find belonging is one of Rabbi Marina Yergin's greatest joys in her work at Temple Beth-El in San Antonio, Texas where she has served since 2015. Known affectionately to her students as the "Resource Queen," Rabbi Yergin designed a dynamic Introduction to Judaism program where each spring, students learned "Stepping Stones to Basic Jewish Knowledge" followed in the fall by "Choosing Judaism," a discussion-based class geared specifically for those working to become Jewish.
Going Beyond Roe to Honor its 49th Anniversary
Last Saturday, January 22nd, marked the 49th anniversary of the US Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The Roe decision was revolutionary, as it protected a pregnant person's right to have an abortion, without excessive government restrictions. Now, we face a grim reality that Roe may not reach its 50 th anniversary. This spring, the Court will deliver its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the case that could functionally overturn Roe. If this happens, almost half the states in the US are poised to ban abortion entirely.
Taking a Breath for Life: the Union for Reform Judaism's Actions to Build Resilience
On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.
For Colleyville, Texas
This is a prayer of healing for the hostages freed from Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, as well as the congregation and the community.
After Colleyville: A Renewed Focus on Synagogue Safety and Security
Last Saturday, amid what should have been a peaceful Shabbat, our global Jewish family watched in horror as news emerged that members of Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Texas, were being held hostage by an armed gunman. After an 11-hour standoff, we breathed a collective sigh of relief and profound gratitude upon learning that all four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, were finally free.
NFTY Leadership – Rising to the Challenge
From the inception of NFTY: The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has been helping to support Jewish life for teens in the Reform Movement. From local synagogue youth programs to regional and North American NFTY programming, WRJ’s YES Fund has helped NFTY sustain its efforts and continue to grow.