URJ

American Jewish Organizations Condemn Murder Of Arab Teen

07/08/2014
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The murder of a Palestinian teenager allegedly by Jewish extremists has drawn widespread condemnations from across the ideological spectrum of the organized Jewish world.

World Union Of Progressive Judaism Names New President

04/30/2014
Web Editor
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The international umbrella organization of several liberal streams of Judaism has named Reform leader Rabbi Daniel Freelander as its new president, the World Union of Progressive Judaism said in a press release.

Rabbi Daniel Freelander. Courtesy of Union of Reform Judaism

How I Became A Reform Jew

A popular singer has her mind and heart opened at recent URJ biennial.

12/31/2013
JTA
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I grew up Jewish. Simply Jewish.

My late father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, raised us in an observant Orthodox household. Our lives were filled with beautiful ritual and we celebrated the wonder of a familial spiritual connection.

Neshama Carlebach

An Investment In Souls

Rabbi David Ellenson remembers the legendary philanthropist whose eye was trained on the future.

12/24/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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Many will surely speak of Edgar Bronfman and his legacy — and deservedly so. I will leave it to others to describe his extraordinarily privileged background, his many achievements in the realm of business and commerce, and his manifold philanthropic works. Each area of his exceptional life is worthy of a full-scale treatise, and I have no doubt that a complete academic biography of the man will soon emerge — the temptation for an academic or graduate student to describe the history of Jewish life in our day through an exploration of this one man’s life is surely irresistible.

Edgar Bronfman: Hailed for candor, humor and curiosity.

URJ Biennial: Will This Be The Year Of Inclusion?

In just a couple of days, nearly five thousand Reform Jews will descend upon the San Diego Convention Center for the 72nd Union of Reform Judaism Biennial Convention. Despite that impressive number, this experience has not been fully inclusive of those with disabilities.

Lisa Friedman

Reform Biennial Opening To Outsiders In Bid To Revitalize Movement

12/04/2013
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NEW YORK — First there was the Conservative movement’s October biennial conference, billed as “The conversation of the century” and opened up to presenters from outside the movement.

We Must Help Our Institutions Become More Welcoming - But Not Shame Them

Editor's Note: Below, Reform rabbi and social worker Edythe Mencher writes about how shaming Jewish institutions that aren't welcoming enough to people with disabilities can be painful and non-productive in the way that families suffer when rejected by those very institutions. If this subject interests you, please also read Joanna Dreifus' post, "Raised Reform, A Mom Finds Her Kids' Disabilities Give The Lie To Labels."

The New Normal has featured some powerful stories about how children and families with special needs have been treated in a variety of Jewish settings. We all can learn a lot from these, often painful, and sometimes deeply affirming, experiences in Jewish communal settings. At the same time, we need to be cautious about using labels. Whether they identify our disabilities or our Jewish affiliations, labels can easily emphasize differences and failings, rather than unique possibilities.

Rabbi Edythe Mencher

From Crawling Under Tables To "Youth Person Of Honor:" How Did We Get Here?

It's all too familiar. It's 5 on a Tuesday afternoon. A room full of fidgety fourth graders. A teacher going around the room, student by student, asking each one to practice reading Hebrew. And to make it harder, there is one student in perpetual motion who disrupts everything, by climbing out of his chair and crawling under the desks. Fast forward seven years.

Lisa Friedman

Elsewhere On The Web: URJ Working For More Special Needs Camping Funding

On the eJewishPhilanthropy website, the Union for Reform Judaism's camping arm responded to The Foundation for Jewish Camp's release of its study "Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs." Click here for the rest of the article, including the movement's committment to put more "human and financial resources" toward special needs programming.

The Foundation for Jewish Camp released preliminary findings last week from their recent research study Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs, which maps current, potential, and desired camp program opportunities for children with disabilities/special needs. The study paints an encouraging picture of the field of Jewish camping, highlighting a variety of models that successfully provide meaningful Jewish camp experiences to children with diverse needs.

Wheelchair ramps are a necessary but not sufficient condition to creating camping option for children with disabilities. Fotolia

The Eternal Conversation

Rabbi Rick Jacobs: 'I think about God every day. I'm not petitioning. I'm not praising. I'm simply sitting with the One.'

03/12/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

Editor’s Note: This article introduces a new column in which Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski, executive director of the Skirball Center for Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-el and founding rabbi of Congregation Sulam Yaakov in Larchmont, asks leading religious figures, thinkers and activists in Jewish life what they think about God? He began with Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
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