To be “audaciously hospitable” is to see the shared humanity, worth, and belonging of every individual and to act accordingly. Whether queer, trans, Jews of Color, Jews by choice, or Jews of patrilineal descent, too many of our people have faced a Jewish community that is far from warm, open, or hospitable. By reaching out to welcome the disabled, the unaffiliated, those who have long been rejected or oppressed, the URJ is leading efforts to bring diversity and inclusion to every community.
The URJ continues to be a thought leader regarding diversity and inclusion, offering an audacious hospitality toolkit to congregations seeking to improve and enrich their inclusion efforts.
In 2018, the URJ administered two leadership development and project incubator initiatives through the
JewV’Nation Fellowship program: the first cohort focused on Jews of Color and the second on LGBTQIA+ Jews.
"I just didn’t know that I was different as a Jewish person than the other Jewish people."
—Ilana Kaufman, Jews of Color Field Building Initiative
In 2018, two URJ congregations, Temple Isaiah in Lexington, MA, and Temple Sinai in Rochester, NY, were singled out as Exemplar Congregations, recognized for excellence in disabilities inclusion through the URJ-Ruderman Family Foundation Disabilities Inclusion Initiative.
Great debates – once held in town squares and later in neighborhood associations – have moved onto digital venues, and the URJ is keeping pace. In addition to sanctuaries and social halls, Reform Jews meet today online and via video, enabling us to pray, learn, celebrate, and challenge each other from across the street, the continent, and the world.
In 2018, the number of our online offerings of Introduction to Judaism© more than doubled, as did the number of participants. Using technology, we can provide meaningful Jewish education and community to individuals and couples who cannot travel to congregations for study, as well as for congregations that lack the critical mass necessary to conduct their own courses.
Introduction to Judaism© Online
In 2018, On the Other Hand: “Ten Minutes of Torah” with URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs celebrated more than 220,000 downloads during its third year of production. Our podcast, Stories We Tell, which relates centuries’-old Jewish folktales to share in our oral tradition, was downloaded nearly 95,000 times.
In 2018, more than 12,000 congregational and Reform Movement leaders used the URJ’s online communications and collaboration network to share information on everything from synagogue security to membership dues.
The URJ's "everything-Jewish" website had another smash year.