Reform Think Tank Invites Your Ideas on Strengthening the Future of Judaism in North America

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Reform Movement, through Reform Judaism Magazine and as part of the Think Tank, wants to know what you think about how to strengthen the future of Judaism in North America.

The magazine’s next cover story will offer a behind-the-scenes history of changes in Judaism and Reform Judaism featuring information that even those well-versed in the subject have been surprised to learn—as a means to engage the entire Reform Movement as well as unaffiliated Jews in discussing the “Big Questions” of our present and future.  Each of the major stories in the section—with authors/interviewees Rabbi David Ellenson, Rabbi Lawrence Englander, Rabbi Steve Fox, Rabbi Lance Sussman, and Rabbi Dan Freelander—includes 3 “Big Questions” derived from their reflections, such as these three from Rabbi Ellenson’s article:

1.  If the “elements that bind [the different Jewish movements] are more powerful than those which divide us,” how might Jews of different denominations work together to strengthen Jewish life in North America?

2.  Would breaking down barriers between the different Jewish movements be a positive development in the evolution of Judaism in North America? If yes, what might the breakdown of further barriers require? If no, why not?

3.  Rabbi Ellenson says that “we have come closer to Isaac Mayer Wise’s dream of an American Judaism” than ever before. Do you think we should reenvision our Movement’s scope—and its name—to encompass the majority of liberal Jewry in North America? If yes, what would you call this Movement? If no, why not?

The interactive website has just gone live at www.reformjudaismmag.org/thinktankAdd your thoughts to this conversation—this is an opportunity for your ideas to be considered by the Reform Think Tank as well as the leadership of the Reform Movement.


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