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Union for Reform Judaism

Union for Reform Judaism
Founded Cincinnati, Ohio (1873)

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), formerly known as the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), is an organization that supports Reform Jewish congregations in North America. The current President is Rabbi Richard Jacobs,[1] and the Chairman of the Board is Stephen Sacks.


  • History and recent activities 1
  • Youth (NFTY) 2
  • Camps 3
  • Israel programs 4
  • Hava Nashira 5
  • Political outreach 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History and recent activities

The origins of the URJ began with the founding of the UAHC by Rabbi synagogues were affiliated with it.[1]

In 1875, the Union created Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati, the Reform movement seminary to train rabbis and later cantors and other Jewish professionals. In 1950, the college merged with the Jewish Institute of Religion, a Reform rabbinical college founded in 1922 by Rabbi Stephen Samuel Wise, and located in New York City. Rabbis in URJ member temples are members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR).

In 2008, Stacy Offner became the first female vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism, a position she held for two years.[2][3]

Along with other agencies such as the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Union condemned a move in mid-2014 by the U.S. Presbyterian Church to divest from companies that do business with Israel settlements.[4]

Youth (NFTY)


  • Union for Reform Judaism − Official website
  • - Comprehensive information about Reform Judaism
  • - The Blog of the Reform Movement
  • Reform Judaism Magazine Home Page
  • URJ Camping
  • North American Federation of Temple Youth
  • Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

External links

  1. ^ a b c "History - Union for Reform Judaism". Union for Reform Judaism. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ Rabbi Offner, Union for Reform Judaism website. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  3. ^ What's Rabbi Offner up to Now?
  4. ^
  5. ^ "About NFTY". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  6. ^ "URJ Camp & Israel Programs". 
  7. ^ "URJ 6 Points Sports Academy". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kutz: NFTY's Campus for Reform Jewish Teens". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ "URJ Camp & Israel Programs Special Needs Programs". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ Sarah Coleman (August 8, 1997). "UAHC's new Camp Newman opens with songs, Torah, VIPs". Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  11. ^ Joshua Schuster (October 9, 1998). "Sale of Camp Swig angers rabbis, campers". Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  12. ^ "About the URJ Camp & Israel Programs". Retrieved January 9, 2012. 


See also

The political and legislative outreach of the URJ is performed by the Religious Action Center (RAC), operated in conjunction with CCAR. The RAC advocates policy positions based upon religious values, and is generally associated with political progressivism.

Political outreach

Hava Nashira draws the prominent modern Jewish musicians, including Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Dan Nichols, and Josh Nelson to lead specialty tracks. Examples of creative tracks offered in previous years: "URJ Camp Songleading" by Dan Nichols, Alan Goodis and Rosalie Will Boxt, "Repertoire Renewal" by Debbie Friedman, and "Music for Young Children and Families" by Peter and Ellen Allard.

Hava Nashira is an annual Jewish songleading workshop held every spring at URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute camp. The workshop is open to URJ camp songleaders as well as to temple music specialists and all those with a serious interest in Jewish songleading and music.

Hava Nashira

  • NFTY in Israel summer travel adventures
  • NFTY-EIE High School in Israel
  • URJ KESHER Taglit-Birthright Israel trips
  • Netzer Year gap-year program
  • Kibbutz Lotan environmental sustainability program
  • Tikkun Olam volunteer program for college graduates

Programs include:

The URJ Camp & Israel Programs offer a number of Israel and Europe international travel programs for youth and teens, some of which offer high school and college credit.[12]

Israel programs

URJ Camps that have closed or are no longer running:

The summer camps are:
Canoeists on a lake at URJ Joseph Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

When not in use as camps, some of these facilities are often used by other community groups, including NFTY events.

during the summer. Israel, engage in programming about Jewish values and history, and partake in recreational activities including athletics, creative arts and color war. Many of the camps have long provided the opportunity for high school aged campers to travel to Shabbat Campers observe [9] and programs for youth with special needs.[8] teen leadership institute[7] comprising 13 summer camps across North America, including a sports specialty camp,[6]The URJ Camp & Israel Programs is the largest Jewish camping system in the world,
A photo of the entrance sign for Camp Swig in Saratoga, California.
Entrance sign for Camp Swig in Saratoga, California.


The URJ Camp & Israel Programs offer summer camp and Israel travel experiences to youth.

and experiential youth-led Jewish educational programming. social action NFTYites convene at local, regional, and North American events throughout the year with a focus on community building, worship, [5]

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