Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154
New York, NY; February 9, 2016 - The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is launching a new high-level fellowship to strengthen its engagement with millennials. The first Fellow will be Evan Traylor, 21, of Edmond, Oklahoma. Traylor, who will graduate from the University of Kansas in May, will work alongside URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs and leaders of the Reform Movement to develop a toolkit for engaging millennials as partners in creating a more just, whole, and compassionate world.
The 12-month Fellowship, which will be based at the URJ’s headquarters in New York and will include regular travel across North America, will involve working in each of the URJ’s strategic priorities of Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice) and Youth to explore new frameworks for engaging millennials.
“I am so pleased to welcome Evan as a member of the URJ professional team, as our first Presidential Fellow for Millennial Engagement,” said Jacobs. “Millennials are seeking welcoming, relevant, and socially conscious engagement. Evan, in this new role, is uniquely positioned to help us think and act strategically in this area in order to bring young adults closer to the core of Jewish life. Engaging millennials is as challenging as it is imperative, and I am confident that Evan, who has already proven himself as an important leader of the Reform Movement, is exactly the right person for this critical role.”
Traylor brings exceptional academic and experiential leadership to this position including serving as a former president of NFTY – The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, a student member of Hillel International’s Board of Directors, an intern for University of Kansas Hillel, and a trustee on the URJ’s North American Board. Traylor is an alumnus of many URJ youth programs including the Greene Family Camp, NFTY in Israel, and Kutz Camp. He is a member of Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City and will graduate from the University of Kansas in May with a degree in Political Science, Jewish Studies, and Leadership Studies.
Traylor said, “The values of the Reform Movement, and benefits of participating in Reform Jewish communal life, have influenced me in countless ways. I am excited about the opportunity to work with Rabbi Jacobs and the larger Reform Movement to create ways to engage my peers. I look forward to the limitless possibilities for sharing the Judaism I love.”
Traylor will begin work on June 1, and will be at URJ’s Kutz Camp in Warwick, NY for the summer working with teen leaders from across North America. In the fall, Traylor will join the URJ Youth Alumni Engagement team, focusing his work on strengthening relationships and systems for engaging with Reform students on campus, and developing frameworks for engaging college graduates as they move to new communities and begin careers.
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay adept and agile, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with almost 900 member congregations and work that inspires millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.