A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to get on a plane headed for Boston to attend the URJ Biennial. The URJ Biennial is the place for Jews from across North America and the World to learn, pray, share ideas, dance and sing while helping shape the future of the Reform Movement. Over the course of 5 days, more than 5,000 participants study ancient texts with leading Jewish minds; share ideas on strengthening congregational life; explore the social justice issues of our day; and dance, sing, and pray with diverse clergy and song leaders from around the world.
What a privilege! I shared learning experiences, meals, Shabbat, and so much more at the URJ Biennial with Solel congregants and North American Board members, Wendy Rhodes and Ross Erlebacher, congregants Rich and Andy Amend and Jay O’Brien, our amazing Cantor. Cantor O’Brien performed with colleagues, reunited with classmates, and learned along with us on how to strengthen our community through social justice, music and prayer. Cantor O’Brien was given the great honor of leading the Shabbat blessings along with Wendy Rhodes at a Shabbat dinner with over 700 people. Wendy also represented Congregation Solel in the Biennial Choir, which added so much to worship.
Plenary sessions, sessions during the conference which all members of all parties attend, were exhilarating! Plenary sessions included a broad range of content on social justice initiatives, music, and other pressing issues facing us today. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the URJ made us feel proud to be at the Biennial, helping to shape the Reform Movement into what it is today. Keynote speakers such as Elizabeth Warren, Reverend William Barber and Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts inspired us with their words of compassion and wisdom.
On February 2, 2018 we will be thrilled to be able to welcome Rabbi Rick Jacobs to Congregation Solel. He is an excellent, inspiring speaker, who will speak to the future of the Reform Movement in honor and celebration of our 60th Anniversary.
I am so grateful for the opportunities I have to connect with other Jewish leaders throughout North America. I am reminded that our Jewish community extends farther than Solel, we are all Community and need to be strong together.
– Holly Krakow
Congregation Solel was represented at the URJ Conference by (L to R) Ross Erlebacher, Andy Amend, Cantor Jay O’Brien, Holly Krakow, Wendy Rhodes, and Wayne Rhodes.