Rabbi Cosnowsky, November 2019

Now that the fall holidays have passed, it’s exciting to look ahead and see what wonderful possibilities exist for further learning, study, worship and transformation.

One of the highlights will be the Biennial of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the umbrella organization for North American Reform Judaism.

In my Rosh Hashanah sermon, I asked the congregation to consider joining our delegation of members attending the 2019 URJ Biennial at Chicago’s McCormick Place, December 11-15. You get to choose your own adventure: It is possible to attend Shabbat only, just the Wednesday-Friday weekday portion, the Saturday-Sunday weekend portion, etc.

Why should anyone consider attending the Biennial? A few years ago, when I attended my first Biennial, I was astounded at the power of being surrounded by thousands of Jews, non-Jews who support the Jewish people, motivating speakers, Jewish music by famous modern Jewish composers and fascinating presentations by professionals for greater learning opportunities.

It is a great way to expand your insights into what other congregations are doing well, what possibilities exist for meaningful and spiritually uplifting worship, leadership development and connection, as well as a great networking opportunity. Past Biennials have included fascinating and surprising speakers such as Michael Douglas and Madeline Albright. Also, when we go together as a community, it forges opportunities to make new friends, develop connections within our congregation, increase our leadership skills, and whet our passion for Jewish learning.

I was hooked on the power of this event after my first Biennial, which is why I am so passionate about bringing a large delegation while it’s right here in our backyard! If you are even remotely interested in going, but are not sure if you can swing it financially, there are generous scholarships available to make it possible for you to attend. Also, please consider going even just for the one day of Shabbat. You can find out more information at www.urjbiennial.org.

If you would like to receive a scholarship, please contact Rabbi Cosnowsky. If you want further information about what you can expect by going to the Biennial, please contact Barbara Turner.