Think Tank with the URJ, CCAR, and HUC-JIR

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The future of the North American Jewish community is being shaped by divergent forces unlike those we have confronted in the past. The URJ, CCAR and HUC-JIR are convening a Think Tank to provide creative leadership in addressing these trends and we need your input!

Congregations and individuals are invited to participate in several public forums that will impact the work of the Think Tank and the future of Reform Judaism.


Public Forums

The first Think Tank public forum will be:

Nov. 21, 2010, at 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET (4:00 - 5:30 PM PT)
HUC-JIR in Los Angeles, CA
Streamed live over the Internet

Think Tank discussions will include topics such as:

  • Communal: How does technology change the nature of community building and affiliation?
  • Financial: The nature of community in an era of "free" and financial uncertainty.
  • Post-Denominationalism: What does it mean to be a denomination/movement in a culture that is inherently anti-institutional?
Members of the Think Tank representing HUC-JIR include Irwin Engelman, Chairman, Board of Governors; Barbara Friedman, immediate past Chair, Board of Governors; Jay Geller, Michael Lorge, Robin Harvey, and Nancy Kasten, members of the Board of Governors; faculty members Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph, Dr. Carole Balin, and Dr. Gary P. Zola; Dr. Joshua Holo, Dean, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles; and Rabbi David Ellenson and Dr. Steven Windmueller, former Dean, HUC-JIR/LA, as staff liasons.

The November 21 forum will feature an address by Dr. Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, who will discuss the intersection of religion and media.

Other participants will include:

  • Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive, Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Rabbi David Ellenson, President of HUC-JIR
  • Shawn Landres, co-founder and CEO of Jumpstart, a think tank in L.A.
  • Phil Liff-Grieff, Associate Executive Director of Bureau of Jewish Education

Future Think Tank public forums are being planned for:

  • April 10-11, 2011 at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati
  • December 14-16 at the URJ Biennial in Maryland
  • March 18-21 at the CCAR Convention in Boston
Three Ways to Participate:
  1. Form a "watching party" with friends or congregation members.
  2. Watch the forum online as an individual.
  3. Attend the live forum in Los Angeles.

We will be soliciting feedback from all participants at the conclusion of the forum and will be sharing this feedback with the Think Tank. Your comments will be taken seriously and will have a tremendous influence on Think Tank discussions.

To register as a group or as an individual, simply fill out the form at http://urj.org/thinktank/  and we'll send you updates and instructions on how to participate.



Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu