Union for Reform Judaism

At Western Wall Egalitarian Service, Reform Head Calls For Pluralistic Prayer Space

07/05/2016 - 12:40

Jerusalem — The head of the U.S. Reform movement led egalitarian prayers at the Western Wall plaza.

Union for Reform Judaism president Rabbi Rick Jacobs, center, participating in a prayer service at the Western Wall. JTA

Speaking Out For An ‘Inclusive, Open’ Judaism

Daryl Messinger is the first woman to chair the Union of Reform Judaism.

11/16/2015 - 19:00

Daryl Messinger made a little history recently in Orlando, the site of the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial. A resident of Palo Alto, Calif., and an active board member of several organizations, Messinger was installed as URJ chair, becoming the first woman to hold that post. And she chanted Torah for the first time — in front of 5,000 worshippers at Shabbat morning services. Following the movement’s biennial, Messinger answered a few questions via email.

Daryl Messinger: Proud of “evolving, inclusive and unorthodox” Reform movement.

URJ Head Warns Of Limits Of Tikkun Olam

Rabbi Rick Jacobs wades into debate over Jewish values at 5,000-strong Biennial.

11/10/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

He hit them right at their strongest — and weakest — point.

All the social justice issues of the day were there on the agenda at last week’s Reform Biennial — the post-Ferguson race wars, climate change, immigration reform, gender equality. Tikkun olam was everywhere at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla., as 5,000 Reform Jews gathered in a spirit of repairing the world; it is the glue that cements the faith of many Reform Jews.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs during his keynote address at URJ Biennial last week in Orlando. Courtesy of URJ

Rainbow Flags, A Pet Rat And Star Power: URJ Biennial's Top 5 Moments

5,000 attendees at Reform Judaism's largest gathering network, pray, plan.

11/05/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Four hundred and fifty rabbis walk into a conference room.

Not to mention 120 cantors, 250 congregational presidents, and thousands of others from 52 states and provinces. The Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) 2015 Biennial, the largest gathering of Reform Jews from across North America to date, has produced some memorable moments. More than 5,000 attendees packed into a sprawling hotel in Orlando, Fla., to pray, network, and get real about the challenges facing the movement.

450 rabbis attended the conference. Courtesy of Union of Reform Judaism

Reform Movement Set To Pass Resolution Affirming Transgender Rights

11/03/2015 - 19:00

The Reform movement, the largest in American Judaism, is set to pass what is being called the most extensive resolution on transgender rights of any major religious organization.

Rick Jacobs speaking at the 2013 URJ Reform Biennial, Dec. 12, 2013. JTA

Reform Movement Mulls Leaving Presidents Conf. In Wake Of J Street Rejection

05/01/2014 - 20:00

WASHINGTON — Saying the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations needs an overhaul, the Union for Reform Judaism said leaving the umbrella body could be an option.

Hartman North America Taking On Bigger Role

Two educators, one Orthodox and one Reform, join think tank faculty.

01/20/2014 - 19:00
Editor and Publisher

Underscoring its commitment to pluralism, attracting high-quality educators and the expansion of its educational work, the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America hired Elana Stein Hain and Rabbi Leon Morris to new positions this week. The move solidifies the institute’s increasing role in its effort to develop and teach new ways of exploring Judaism, Israel and the relationship between North America and the Jewish state, with an emphasis on textual study.

Rabbi Leon Morris and Elana Stein Hain will expand the work of Jerusalem-based educational institution.

A Call For 'Audacious Hospitality'

'Being against intermarriage is like being against gravity,' says Reform leader, but jury is out on trend's long-term impact.

01/14/2014 - 19:00
Editor And Publisher

There was a time when American Jewish families sat shiva when a child married out of the faith. Even two or three decades ago the prevailing attitude was one of disappointment, embarrassment and regret, coupled with a parental commitment to make the best of it and hope the grandchildren would be raised as Jews.

Gary Rosenblatt

Reform Movement Sells Property To Invest Funds in Youth Programs

12/15/2013 - 19:00

SAN DIEGO — The Union for Reform Judaism has sold off half of its headquarters in New York and is investing $1 million from the proceeds to overhaul its youth programming.

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