TEMV Biennial 2017
(L-R: Robin Frisch, Michelle Vlamis, Yael Rothman, Phebe Rand, Rabbi Robin Sparr, Dana Rudolph

Six members of TEMV participated as a “Platinum Delegation” to the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial in Boston this past week. The biannual event is among the largest Jewish gatherings in North America, with nearly 6,000 attendees coming together to worship, learn, sing, build community, and shape the future of the Reform Movement.

Registrants attended workshops around the themes of diversity, innovation, and action, and heard keynote speeches and plenary sessions from speakers including Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts; Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, founder and president, Repairers of the Breach; Fran Drescher, actor; and Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts. Leading American Jewish composers and musicians musicians also performed throughout the event.

Several additional members of the TEMV community joined our delegation for the Friday night Shabbat service that drew thousands of participants. Led by Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman, senior rabbi of Larchmont Temple in New York, with Cantor Sheera Ben-David from Temple Sholom of Chicago and a d’var Torah by URJ Vice President for Audacious Hospitality April Baskin, the services also included a band and choir and inspired many attendees to dance joyously in the aisles.

Videos of many of the talks, services, and performances may be viewed at the URJ website.

Our rabbi and congregational leaders enjoyed the opportunity to connect with colleagues and those who hold similar leadership positions, and to learn from others’ experiences and innovations. Rabbi Sparr noted, “It was so affirming for me to see that TEMV has achieved organically what so many congregations are striving for, in exemplifying ‘audacious hospitality’ in our welcome and integration of visitors and both new and veteran members. I also deeply appreciate this opportunity to connect with my friends and colleagues from all over North America to share ideas and deepen professional and personal relationships as we strive together to strengthen and grow our communities.”

TEMV Vice President Robin Frisch said, ​”Attending the URJ Biennial 2017 was a powerful experience. The sessions were enlightening and engaging, the plenary speakers were thought-provoking and timely, and the music was extraordinary. When I joined my voice in song with approximately 6,000 other Reform Jews, the feeling of unity was incredible.”

TEMV’s delegation looks forward to sharing more of the learnings and energy from this experience with all of the TEMV community.


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