Friday, December 16, 2011

URJ Biennial 2011 in Washington D.C. - Update

Every two years thousands of Reform Jews gather together to worship, study, learn, knell, kvetch, nosh, kibbitz, and engage in the collaborative efforts we call Reform Judaism. This year there are six thousand of us at the Gaylord Resort on the National Harbor. We have seen a diversity of speakers, politicians, musicians, and presenters.

The main theme of this year's Biennial is youth engagement. Israel is also very much at the forefront of our conversations as well. There is a little something for everyone. Aside from listening to Deputy Prime Minster Ehud Barak, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz, members of AIPAC, Israeli Ambassador and author Michael Oren, I have also taken a course in Twitter. I know it sounds random, but being able to communicate the messages we have been receiving through a variety of mediums is essential to the ongoing conversation going forward.

Later today we'll have the chance to hear President Barak Obama and that will be followed up with a Shabbat experience with 6,000 of our closest friends. It is a type of experience that is invigorating and should be enjoyed at least once in a person's life.

One of the tasks we are taking away from this convention is: what can we do to inspire and engage our membership. There are so many ideas and opportunities out there even in these tough times.

I can't wait to see what today brings.

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