Professional Development

In 2018, the URJ provided an expanded array of training opportunities to congregational professionals from clergy and youth directors to educators and executive directors. These endeavors not only enriched the professional lives of the individuals who participated, but also strengthened all facets of congregational life.

RAC Rabbinic Moral Leadership Gathering

In 2018, the RAC’s Rabbinic Moral Leadership Gathering hosted 130 rabbis for a two-day retreat to strategize ways to further shape the national conversation around justice and shared humanity, inspire Reform Jews to act on behalf of social justice, and inform and influence public officials. This program was made possible with generous support from the Righteous Persons Foundation.

Photos: Michael Courier

Youth Professionals 101 Fellowship

Centered on peer-to-peer learning and mentorship, the URJ’s Youth Professionals 101 Fellowship, with generous support from the Covenant Foundation, offered new educators and engagement professionals the skills and knowledge necessary to build and maintain strong congregational youth programs.

"Without my mentor’s support, I would not have felt as comfortable figuring out how to advocate for myself and my needs as a young professional."

Yael Farber, Youth Professional 101 Fellow, Community Synagogue of Rye in Rye, NY

Chicago Early Engagement Leadership Initiative (CEELI)

Generously supported by the Crown Family Philanthropies and an anonymous donor, the Chicago Early Engagement Leadership Initiative convened 16 early childhood education organizations from across the denominational spectrum. Led by the URJ, this Chicago-based cohort of professional early childhood educators was encouraged to employ strategic innovation and collaborative problem-solving across the Chicago community. This replicable model will be used to advance Jewish life in other communities, building and enriching Jewish engagement among young families for years to come.

The J-Life Network

In 2018, with generous support from the Avi Chai Foundation, the URJ launched the Jewish Life Network of Camp Professionals (a.k.a. J-Life), to identify goals for campers in the areas of social justice, Jewish education, and Israel engagement. The J-Life professionals then created guiding principles to employ across the URJ’s 17 overnight camps.