URJ Engagement and Belonging Projects

Vibrant, thriving communities are those that are working to move past "warm and welcoming" towards "belonging." Leaders in a community of belonging say, "we want to know you!" Leaders in a community of belonging take the time to learn names, find out what drives people, and say, "I'm so glad you are here! Let's collaborate to build the community we all need."

Springtide Research Institute's recent report, "Belonging," shares a framework for building a community that helps people feel named, noticed, known and needed.

Who are the people you're looking to engage? What can you and your community do to better connect with those on the margins? Perhaps they are already members of your congregation or perhaps they are not - either way, engaging with them is part of your holy work.

URJ is offering several ways for your community to learn about and intentionally practice engagement and belonging efforts:


URJ Relational Engagement Campaign: A How-To for Congregational Leaders
A learning experience focused on skills and tools that every congregation should have as part of their tool box.

What are the goals of this course? 

Goals: Participants will… 

  • Learn two methods (house meetings and 1:1s) for building relationships and gathering data from community members 
  • Identify community members who can participate or lead in the listening work 
  • Consider best practices around conversations and questions 
  • Synthesize learning from the URJ engagement series to build questions unique for their community
  • Build a network of colleagues who are thinking deeply about engaging the unengaged  


  • Participants will develop and implement a listening campaign to use in their community 
  • Participants will build a core team to accomplish their listening campaign 
  • 20 congregations will facilitate a listening campaign in 23-24 

Who should register? 

This course is for leaders from congregations who participated in the URJ Engagement Series. These leaders may have official titles or roles in the staff or lay leadership structure - or they may be leaders who make things happen, without the structure of a set role.  

Participants will have fuller course experience if they participate with a team from their community. 

What do you mean by team? 

The work of planning, collecting, and analyzing the information you collect in a relational engagement campaign will be done best with a group of people. This work is not meant to sit on the shoulders of staff alone, but should be shared among a group of people in the community with diverse roles, responsibilities, characteristics, backgrounds, and perspectives. One shared value your team may have is that everyone on it is ready to listen to voices that have not yet been centered in Jewish communal life.

We will learn about building a team in the course, and attending the course with others in your community will serve to kick-start the work. 

What is the timeline? 

The Relational Engagement Campaign course will be available in a private Tent group, opening November 1. Coursework in the Tent will be asynchronous, so you and your team can learn together or on your own - in a time and space that work best for you. In addition to the asynchronous online course, there will be three online synchronous gatherings to review the course sessions and consider next steps together. These will take place on: 

  • Wednesday, January 31, 12pm ET (11am CT, 10am MT, 9am PT) 
  • Thursday, February 22, 3pm ET (2pm CT, 1pm MT, 12pm PT) 

When you finish the coursework, your team will be prepared to complete planning and implementing a relational engagement campaign in your community. At this time, we are offering a few optional add-ons to deepen the learning and impact of the course: 

  • *Optional* Spring Course Meetings: Join with other Relational Engagement Campaign course participants in April to discuss the data you collected, and again in May to imagine the plans moving forward. Stay tuned for dates and registration. 
    • Price: Free 
  • Peer-Guided Sessions: pair up with another congregation's team to meet with a peer guide from a community that has already facilitated a relational campaign. This group will meet 1-2 times to answer questions, provide feedback to one another, and support each other's work. 
    • Price: Free 
  • Coaching: Apply to meet with a URJ coach for two sessions to push your work forward faster. Stay tuned for more information throughout the course. 
    • Price: $600 

Where do I register? 

I have more questions...

Please email Rachel Margolis, RJE with any questions. 

A downloadable workbook with prompts, exercises and tools to help a team from your community work together to move forward from where you are to where you want to be.

Board & Leadership WorkshopsBoard & Leadership Workshops

One of the resources available to congregations are tailor-made workshops for congregational boards and leaders. Working with a trained facilitator to create a fantastic learning experience, your leaders will have an opportunity to engage in generative thinking around strategy and action. Some of the topics available to you include:

  • Engaging members beyond the "usual suspects"
  • Deepening relationships in your congregation
  • Conducting a Listening Campaign/How to facilitate a listening group

If you are interested in bringing a workshop to your community, please reach out to the URJ Knowledge Network.