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Year of Impact

Throughout 2020, we came together to learn, lobby, protest, pray, sing, and celebrate.  We invite you to explore all the ways we collectively made a difference, month-by-month.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE

From January to March 2020, more than 1600 teens traveled to Washington, DC with their congregations for four days of advocacy and action as part of L’Taken Social Justice Seminars. 

 

In the fall of 2020, the RAC launched its new virtual Social Justice Academy to ensure that teen social justice engagement could continue throughout the pandemic.  Thousands of teens participated, expanding the ranks of committed and energized social justice activists taking on leadership roles in their home communities.

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NO HATE. NO FEAR.

As instances of anti-Semitism increased, the URJ joined with other organizations across the Jewish communal spectrum for a solidarity march in early January.  No Hate. No Fear. brought more than 25,000 people of all ages, religious, and political affiliations across the Brooklyn bridge, to stand together as a unified voice against hate.

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WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS

Hundreds of Reform congregations participated in the World Zionist Congress election which happens every 5 years. With over 30,000 votes, the most of any slate, the Reform movement secured leadership positions in Israel’s National Institutions and funding for Reform movement priorities across Israel.

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REIMAGINED PASSOVER

As congregations and individuals accepted the disappointing reality of virtual Passover seders in 2020, the URJ’s reimagined Passover resources were viewed more than 1 million times on our websites!  From recipes to art projects, social justice discussion topics to video sing-alongs, Passover 2020 saw seders filled with innovation, creativity, and more participants than ever before.

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MARKETPLACE

With the launch of Reform Movement Marketplace, URJ congregations are now able to connect with products and services that reduce the costs of running a congregation and simplify day-to-day operations. With scores of vendors offering discounts on everything from video conferencing to office supplies to HR services, thousands of congregational leaders are turning to the Marketplace as their one-stop shop.

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WHOLLY JEWISH PODCAST

Just in time for Pride Month, the URJ released Season 2 of Wholly Jewish, a ReformJudaism.org Podcast featuring LGBTQIA+ community leaders. Wholly Jewish was created by the URJ to spotlight and elevate diverse voices and the ways our “Jewish and…and” identities intersect and contribute to who we are as individuals. ReformJudaism.org’s other podcasts, On The Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah, and Stories We Tell, are consistently among the most popular religion podcasts on iTunes.

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RJ ON THE GO

In June 2020, in response to social isolation imposed by Covid-19, the URJ launched RJ on the Go, our new virtual platform for interactive, meaningful, and joyous Jewish experiences. Thousands of individuals and families have already started exploring Judaism through science, art, text, and more, utilizing this new virtual gathering space to build Jewish community in innovative and creative ways.

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CAMPFIRE ON TOUR

Song sessions around the campfire define summer for so many. In 2020, we took those gatherings virtual with Campfire on Tour, nightly song sessions and weekly concerts featuring the premier musicians of the movement.  Although isolated at home, thousands joined in on Facebook live to sing together for connection, comfort, and joy.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER

Throughout the summer of 2020, we centered the voices of Jews of Color and said unequivocally that Black Lives Matter is a Jewish value. We created resources and toolkits for congregations to explore their internal racial equity, diversity, and inclusion practices and to act externally to address historic and ongoing systemic racism. And, we strengthened our work in solidarity with our allies in communities of Color to fight white supremacy.

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URJ REFLECTION PROJECT

Hineni. Here I Am.  With a generous grant from The Righteous Person’s Foundation we were able to create the URJ Reflection Project, a virtual High Holiday resource for clergy, individuals, families, and communities.  The site was visited almost 10,000 times, offering themes on which to meditate, act, and deepen spirituality during a most unprecedented High Holiday season.

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NFTYx

NFTYx, launched at the beginning of the 2020 school year, has already created more pathways for teen engagement and leadership than we have ever had before. With every teen bringing their own ideas, talents, and passions to the table, NFTYx provided teens with a safe haven of community and connection throughout the pandemic.

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ISRAEL LEADERSHIP NETWORK

Our new Israel Leadership Network, for congregational leaders committed to furthering Reform Zionism, launched in 2020 to advance the place of Israel in our Movement and to build greater support for the Reform Movement in Israel. Through the ILN, scores of congregations are now deeply engaged in learning, dialogue, and understanding around some of the most complex Israel-related issues.  

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EQUITY, DIVERSITY, INCLUSION

In 2020 the URJ deepened its commitment to Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) with the hire of Yolanda Savage-Narva as our new Director of REDI work.  Supported by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, this work largely focuses on addressing racial justice and equity in all its forms, and as well as homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. 

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EVERY VOICE, EVERY VOTE

The Reform Movement’s Civic Engagement Campaign: Every Voice Every Vote activated 15,000 volunteers to encourage all voting-age individuals to participate in the 2020 US elections.  Through voter registration and postcard drives the Reform Movement logged over 600,000 voter interactions!  With the announcement of the Georgia run-off election, we mobilized once again, creating the RAC’s Georgia Voter Project, in partnership with Georgia congregations, URJ Camp Coleman, NFTY, and JumpSpark, to specifically engage young Jewish leaders in civic engagement and organizing.