Adopted by the General Assembly
Union of American Hebrew Congregations
October 29-November 2, 1997 Dallas

We recognize that North American Jews face a Jewish literacy crisis. While we are the best educated generation of Jews that has ever lived, we are often woefully ignorant of our own Jewish heritage. At the same time, we are witnessing a renewed enthusiasm for Jewish learning throughout the Reform Movement. Those of us who have had the opportunity to study and taste the richness of Torah have discovered that learning is a source of inspiration and great adventure.

As leaders of Reform Judaism, our challenge is to instill in our generation a love of Jewish learning and to create knowledgeable and literate Jews. To meet this challenge, the Union calls on its congregations to continue to develop programs for synagogue leaders and other adult members that will provide them with a rich and rewarding communal learning environment.

THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:

  1. Call upon its member congregations to help congregants become competent and literate Jews by creating practical, serious and meaningful learning opportunities at all levels of congregational life by:
    1. Encouraging members of congregational boards to establish an annual year-long course of study consisting of reading significant Jewish books and incorporating discussion of these books into the regular work of the board;
    2. Encouraging study of Jewish texts as a part of committee meetings;
    3. Reinvigorating communal Torah study by training lay members of our congregations to become proficient Torah readers and chanters during our worship services;
    4. Encouraging congregants to reclaim Shabbat by incorporating Torah study and discussion into Shabbat observance in the synagogue and home;
  2. Set aside Erev Shavuot, the traditional time when Jews gather in the synagogue to study Biblical and rabbinic texts, for a movement-wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot (night of study) in our congregations, celebrating a year of intensive Torah study; and
  3. Direct our UAHC professional staff and departments to provide resource materials to assist our congregations and congregants in developing these programs of adult Jewish study.