Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What does Reform mean to you?

Okay - at this point, I can actually say I've been involved with the Reform Movement in Judaism for well more than 40 yrs (born into it, and having played some active role as a Reform Jew the entire time since). Reform - the preeminent progressive presence in Judaism - remains the most vital, relevant and ever-expanding Jewish response to modern times (to somewhat quote a beloved teacher, Michael Meyer of HUC-JIR). A great deal has been said and written lately about this being a very significant time of change and transformation for Reform, and especially its leading institutional body - the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). And yet - as a dynamically evolving element of Jewish tradition, Reform is ALWAYS at a time of transition; perhaps this is its defining notion (some of you will remember the ol' booklet Reform is a Verb).
In about two weeks, literally thousands of Reform Jews will join together from around North America and the world for the URJ's Biennial Convention, the largest gathering of Jewish professional and lay leaders (for more on Biennial, go to http://urjbiennial.zerista.com/). Highlight of this convention will be the Education Summit focusing on the Campaign for Youth Engagement. I'm extra proud that Debra has a significant role in all this...
Each Biennial I've attended has become a favorite experience of mine - and I am very much looking forward to this edition of the "family gathering" of our denomination. As I get ready to attend (and yes, think about the programs, the people, and even what to wear) - I ask myself - what does Reform mean to me? As a contemporary American I have the privilege of considering this question; as a progressive Jew, I also have the obligation to continue seeking a meaningful response.

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