By Deanna Stilwell, 8/14/2018
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I have heard this expression countless times in my life, and it is incredibly fitting for URJ Camp Newman for summer 2018.
Last October, after many years in operation along Porter Creek Road in Sonoma County, a majority of Camp Newman’s buildings were engulfed in the Tubbs Fire. Quickly after the depth of devastation was made clear, the board and staff persevered to make sure that Summer of 2018 at Camp Newman would happen. Campers eagerly awaited the news of an alternate location. Finally, the announcement came via an email with a video clip... Read More
By Isak Asasvestad, 5/24/2018
My name is Isak Aasvestad and I grew up in Norway. Currently, I’m a rabbinical student at the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany, where I’m pursuing my goal of becoming a rabbi in a Progressive Jewish community in Europe. My studies at the Abraham Geiger College are made possible by a scholarship provided by the YES Fund of the Women of Reform Judaism. For this, I’m immensely grateful!
In addition to my academic studies at the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam, community internships are an essential part of my rabbinical training.
I have the privilege of... Read More
By Carol Chaykin, 2/05/2018
Each year, the New York campus of HUC-JIR hosts an evening where the scholarship students and donors can meet and mingle. On January 27, along with WRJ Executive Director Rabbi Marla Feldman, I attended this year’s Scholarship Recognition Dinner, where we had the pleasure of meeting two of this year’s WRJ’s scholars – Ariel Milan-Polisar and Rachael Pass.
The evening began with wine and hors-d'oeuvres in the HUC-JIR lobby, and an opportunity to meet our “WRJ scholars” and other scholarship recipients... followed by Havdalah, and then dinner in the great space downstairs. We heard from... Read More
By Shelley Niceley Groff, 8/29/2017
The day started with a bang. Literally.
But no one was fazed. Everyone knew it was coming. It was 8 a.m. on a beautiful morning at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, and I was excited to see camp in action. The entire camp was gathered on the lawn following morning study based on daily blessings. Counselors ran onto the field and did something with dry ice and ping pong balls. Poof! There was indeed a big bang, lots of cheering, a rousing rendition of the “Boker Big Bang” song led by a very energetic song leader, and the day began.
That was just the... Read More
By Denise Levine & Liz McOsker, Israel Trip Committee Co-Chairs, 5/24/2017
When we first got involved with WRJ, we learned the basics of the YES Fund. We learned about money given to HUC-JIR, scholarships for Rabbinic and Cantorial Students, money for NFTY and the RAC. Sometime later, buried in the “Special Project” section, was money given to the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) for the Bat Mitzvah program. We had no real idea what that program was.
WRJ partners with the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism to sponsor the Mother-Daughter Bat Mitzvah Program. Most girls in Israel do not become Bat Mitzvah. They often have big parties (... Read More