The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) invests in developing leaders in their 20s and 30s, creating spaces for them to learn, and empowering them to shape a North American Reform Movement that addresses their generation’s needs.
URJ’s first giving circle for Reform millennials, Emergent Givers, ran pilot programs in San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York. Emergent Givers contribute financial resources, as well as their time, intellect, and energy to support the mission of the URJ and its social justice endeavors.
“One of the traditions in my family is staying connected to our Jewish community. Although I felt I had lost that connection after college, Emergent Givers not only reconnected me, but also taught me so much about the philanthropic values that are important to us as Reform Jews.”
—Elyse Azriel, Emergent Giver
Because we know that Jewish communities are enriched when all members are equipped to participate and to lead, the JewV’Nation Fellowship, a project of the URJ’s Audacious Hospitality team, offers opportunities for Jews of Color, LGBTQIA+ Jews, and those whose Jewish identities intersect with other identities to support, create, and lead – with each other and within the Jewish community at large.
“The fellowship gave me a unique opportunity to learn and grow alongside like-minded Jewish professionals. As a Jew by Choice of Color, it feels difficult, sometimes, to fit in within Jewish spaces. Being in the 2018 cohort with other Jews of Color affirmed and validated my identity and created a platform for me to inspire other Jews of Color and help change the Jewish landscape."
—Chris Harrison, 2018 JewV'Nation Fellow
Eisendrath Legislative Assistants
The Reform Movement’s strong presence in Washington, D.C. is due in part to legislative assistants, who lobby for the URJ in support of various issues – women’s rights, Israel, the environment, prison reform, immigration, and others – as well as staff the L’Taken teen legislative advocacy weekends.
“Working with our congregations, leaders, and other faith-based groups in Washington, D.C. has allowed me to build relationships and strengthen our work in pursuing justice. Sacred partnerships like these are central to my understanding of what it means to be Jewish and our responsibility to be God’s partners in completing the work of creation.”
—Aaron Torop (pictured), 2018 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant
Photo: Deni Budman
As President of Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), Susan Bass is a big believer in being an entrepreneurial and consistent partner to URJ. WRJ, under her leadership, has made significant and strategic contributions to help the URJ innovate and improve.
"It has been our honor and our privilege to seed new initiatives and bold ideas."
—Susan Bass, WRJ President
Klal Yisrael Fellowship
With generous funding from the Roswell family, Klal Yisrael Fellows from North America, Israel, and throughout the Diaspora, study Jewish texts and Reform Jewish culture and traditions, bringing home what they’ve learned.
“This fellowship has given me the confidence to take on projects within my community and be more critical of the structures and organizations I work within. I now have a greater awareness of how the world of Reform Judaism operates and the challenges and opportunities that Reform organizations are facing. I also have a strong network of peers whom I can reach out to in the future for continued inspiration and more.”
—Sedona Rosenberg, 2018 Klal Yisrael Fellow
Camp Leader and Synagogue Professional (CLASP) Service Corps Fellowship
The CLASP Fellowship brings youth professionals from Reform Jewish summer camps to congregations for a one-year, full-time position. CLASP fellows in 2018 combined their love of Jewish camp and congregational life, even as they forged deep connections for the congregation’s camp-attending children.
“Being a CLASP Fellow has allowed me to combine my love of Jewish camp and congregational life. The opportunity to learn and work with exceptional mentors in both settings has given me the confidence and ability to teach creatively and grow personally and professionally.”
—Emily Halpern, a 2018 CLASP Fellow, at URJ Camp Harlam and Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ