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Inspiring Leaders

Resources for Reopening


As teams of clergy, staff, educators, and lay leaders across North America considered how to best reopen their houses of worship in 2021, we recognized that they faced challenges so big that no single community should have to take them on alone. Working in partnership with them and other Movement partners, the URJ strategized, collaborated, and worked tirelessly to help congregational communities envision and plan for reopening and beyond.


Leaders also recognized that not everyone was ready to return to in-person gatherings, which led URJ leaders to conceive of an asynchronous approach that gives congregations the flexibility to meet people “where they are” by creating varied points of entry for the many diverse ways they want to engage. Unlike hybrid models, the multi-access approach allows for nimble changes and ongoing, dynamic evolution. 

Sounding the shofar outdoor at Beth Emet the Free Synagogue, Evanston, IL
Celebrating Shabbat with visual tfilah at Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los Angeles, CA
Lighting the Shabbat candles on Hanukkah at Temple Rodeph Shalom, NYC

URJ congregations and communities reopening in 2021.

Responding to Antisemitism

Amid an alarming rise in antisemitism, the URJ partnered with the Anti-Defamation League, the world’s leading anti-hate organization, to develop “Responding to Antisemitic Incidents: A New Resource for URJ Communities.” Designed to help congregational leaders prepare for and respond to incidents of hate and antisemitism, this multi-faceted digital resource calls upon the expertise of the ADL and the extensive support network of the URJ. 

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​2021 Social Justice Academy

We expanded our Social Justice Academy for teens in lieu of holding our L'Taken Social Justice Seminar program in person.


This virtual program in 2020-2021 allowed us to thrive, engaging more teens in grades nine-12 through the Social Justice Academy. The virtual program provided teens with meaningful, fun, and actionable social justice learning through a Jewish lens. Aside from deepening their understandings of social issues, participants also learned from experts in an intensive model experience, met like-minded peers, gained transferable skills, and learned about ways that they could get involved and pursue justice as future leaders. 

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