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Evan Traylor


Evan Traylor standing at a podium addressing the URJ Biennial

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial on Friday, Dec. 13, during Shabbat services.

Every time I sing the Jewish people’s powerful prayer for peace, I am overwhelmed with hope – hope for a better world for all people.

You know, there was another man from Chicago who spoke of the “audacity of hope” – about seeing beyond the world as it is now and seeing the world as it should be. He knew, as we all know, that sometimes hope can be too hard to find.

But really, those moments are...

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A group of young people with their backs to the camera and their arms around one another while wearing backpacks

It’s that time of the year again: moving into new dorms and apartments, catching up with friends after a great summer, buying (way-too-expensive) textbooks, and double-checking schedules to make sure you get to the right class. The start of every school year is always exciting, but this year is special because there are even more ways to connect and get involved with Reform Jewish life throughout the year!

Create your own campus event: Through a Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) College Grant, you can receive up to $100 to put together your own Shabbat dinner, holiday event, or meet-up... Read More

Orange and purple sunset over water

A couple of weekends ago, I did something totally beyond my comfort zone. Along with 20 other Jewish activists, I attended a contemplative, mostly silent, meditation retreat through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. Throughout the whole experience, I felt myself growing and exploring so much about myself and how I show up and exist in the world.

But before going into my takeaways from the experience, it’s important for you to know the structure of the retreat. Over the course of four days, we were silent for about 90 percent of the experience. All of our meditation sessions...

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Collage of the 12 student leaders named to the URJ College Leadership Team

We at the Union for Reform Judaism are thrilled to announce the first URJ College Leadership Team and to introduce the Reform Jewish college students who will serve as leaders throughout the 2019-2020 school year.

These 12 students, located at universities throughout North America, will serve as the primary college leaders for the Reform Movement, partnering with staff and other lay leaders to strengthen Reform Jewish life on campuses across the continent. Selected from a pool of more than 70 well-qualified applicants, they represent a broad variety of Jewish backgrounds and...

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Group of smiling students posing together at a Shabbat dinner table

It was the summer of 2012 and I was excited, nervous, and anxious all at the same time. In just a few short weeks, I would officially begin my time at the University of Kansas.

Although it was the perfect school for me, I didn’t fully know what to expect – and just like the thousands of high school seniors graduating this school year, I still had so many questions about the year to come: Would I be able to make new friends? What did I want to do with my life after college? What was my connection to Jewish community going to look like?

Looking back on it now, it’s incredible...

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