The goal of URJ’s Introduction to Judaism program is to give seekers a strong foundation for participation in the Jewish community and to empower them to further explore Judaism. Weekly classes are augmented by Shabbat programs and additional experiential components. Introduction to Judaism courses are a minimum of 15 sessions or 30 hours, including experiential components.
Participants are diverse and all are welcome. Participants include singles and couples, Jews and those from various faith backgrounds. The LGBTQ-friendly class is also perfect for individuals raising Jewish children, those who never had a Jewish education, individuals who want to explore their Jewish roots or those who or want to explore Judaism on an adult-level.
After completing the 15-20 session Introduction to Judaism course, student surveys show that:
- 87 percent are more likely to create a Jewish home
- 76 percent of those who came to the class from other faith, family, and cultural backgrounds are more likely to choose Judaism as a religion
- 96. percent feel more likely to engage in Jewish practice in their home
- 97 percent feel more likely to attend Shabbat or holiday services
- 97 percent are more likely to celebrate Jewish life cycle events
Introduction to Judaism classes are sponsored by URJ-affiliated congregations with extensive support from URJ staff.
For each in-person Introduction to Judaism program, URJ staff will:
- Post the congregation’s course offerings on ReformJudaism.org, a site with 300,000 monthly visitors
- Create a customized marketing toolkit, branded for your congregation
- Administer participant registration and review every submission
- Place paid, geographic specific social media advertising – up to $300 per course – on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media
- Respond directly to all inquiries from prospective students, including those who express interest through our website pop-up boxes, and as appropriate, refer them to congregational clergy and/or staff
- Forward detailed and up-to-date class rosters to congregational liaisons for follow-up about specific course requirements, course materials, and tuition
- Administer a student feedback survey and collate feedback to share with faculty
- Provide a customized digital template for the Introduction to Judaism Certificate of Completion
- Offer curricular resources and one-on-one consulting to faculty and congregational leadership
In addition, through the generosity of the National Center to Encourage Judaism (NCEJ), a limited number of Introduction to Judaism marketing grants are available to URJ congregations that meet minimum requirements.