Friday, October 16, 2015

Biennial and Shave for the Brave

In just a few weeks the Union for Reform Judaism will be celebrating its Biennial convention in Orlando, Florida. The Biennial "is where Reform congregational leaders gather to learn, pray, share ideas, hear from inspiring guest speakers, and network." If you are interested in attending you can register at the following link: Biennial Registration

The URJ was originally the Union of American Hebrew Congregations or UAHC for short. It was founded in Cincinnati, OH in 1873 by Isaac Mayer Wise. His vision was to gather together a group of like minded congregations to help to fund a rabbinical seminary which was established in 1875: the Hebrew Union College. 

There were originally 34 congregations who joined this endeavor including our very own Har Sinai Congregation. Har Sinai Congregation has been heavily involved in the Reform Movement ever since.

The URJ not only supports the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion, it also supports a number of summer camps including our regional camp, Camp Harlam. It funds the Religious Action Center in Washington DC. It supplements NFTY (The North American Federation of Temple Youth) including our very on HaSTY, Israel programs and so much more.

The URJ, like many religious institutions has faced dramatic financial challenges and is still very much working on its vision for the 21st Century. That being said, Biennial is one of the URJ's signature programs, and it is very well worth attending. It provides tremendous opportunities to network, learn, and experience the vibrancy of Reform Judaism.

As an aside, we are going to be doing something brand new at this year's Biennial. Along with all of the wonderful programming, we are going to be taking #36ShavefortheBrave to Biennial. This means I along with fellow rabbis, cantors, Jewish professionals, and others will be raising money to fight pediatric cancer by shaving our heads in memory of Sammy Sommer and all those children who have fought or are fighting Pediatric Cancer. You can go to the following website and donate if you wish #36ShavefortheBrave 

Me with Sammy's Parents Phyllis and Michael Sommer
after Shaving our heads in Chicago
I would also love to have you join me there. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Registration is rapidly closing, but I can assure you, that everyone who goes has an incredible time.