URJ Biennial

The URJ Bienniel has ended. but the spirit and the journey continue


If you see 35 congregants walking around with warmer smiles, lighter steps, and renewed enthusiasm for the "big picture,” we may very well have attended the recent Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, where we experienced the exhilarating power of Jewish engagement.

Whether attending the full Biennial, or half, the Shabbat day programs or Shabbat dinner and shira (song fest), all of us returned a little overwhelmed, but very much filled with a shared resolve.  Inspiring speakers, practical break-out sessions, uplifting music, spiritual worship services and participation in a community of more than 5,000 Jews from North America, Israel and other countries around the world created a space for personal engagement and a renewed commitment to our Etz Chaim community.

With social justice a core value of Judaism, learning sessions and personal stories inspired us to find more opportunities that can truly change the world one person at a time, starting with ourselves.

While ''Audacious Hospitality" remains the Reform Jewish Movement's recurring theme, this year's programs and activities focused on expanding the tent - being more than a welcoming congregation, being one that is more truly inclusive and meets the needs of our congregation through relationship building.

The good news is that we have already begun to put into place key components - by doing in-reach and purposefully listening to, each other's stories to building relationships that transform us into a space (both physical and virtual) and a culture of belonging. The even better news is that we bring back more knowledge, ideas and resources to engage our Jewish community of all ages, within our walls. and without.