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Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

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Time for change written in the sand with waves coming toward the words

Last week, a good friend of mine invited me to join them when they received their two-year coin at Alcoholics Anonymous. This is not a world that I typically inhabit, and I discovered during the meeting that world had a lot to teach me about building community, making meaning, and doing t’shuvah (repentance).

In the synagogue world, and especially in small congregations, it often feels like we are one step behind in the latest trends, one marketing campaign or social media strategy or new melody away from transforming our congregations.

It was fascinating to watch people...

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Not everyone I know attended the URJ Biennial, but it felt that way. I ran into people from every school, youth program, and synagogue I’ve ever worked with or attended. My friends and colleagues who missed it complained of a condition called “Biennial FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out).

But even those of us at the Biennial weren’t immune to FOMO. At any given time, there were 20 different sessions to attend, on four specialized tracks: Audacious Hospitality, Strengthening Congregations, Engaging our Youth, and Tikkun Olam (Repairing Our World). There were concerts, exhibits, shopping,...

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