Delegates to return to Temple Beth Orr with new strategies for congregational life.

November 28, 2017, Coral Springs, FL – Leaders from Temple Beth Orr in Coral Springs, Florida will join 5,000 Jewish leaders for the 2017 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial, being held in Boston, Massachusetts, from December 6-10.


The URJ Biennial is the largest Jewish religious gathering in North America. Clergy, professionals, lay leaders, educators, youth leaders, and high school and college students will come together to learn, pray, share ideas, network, celebrate, make Reform Movement policy, and create engagement opportunities for the 2 million people – representing nearly 900 Reform Jewish congregations in the U.S. and Canada – who comprise the Reform Jewish community.

Temple Beth Orr is one of 138 Reform Jewish congregations from across North America who will send a group delegation to the conference. Participants from 480+ congregations in 57 states/provinces will attend intensive leadership training and learning sessions about congregational life, designed to enrich personal skills and knowledge, and deliver tangible take-aways to bring back to their congregations.

Attendees may choose from more than 200 learning sessions from 400 expert presenters. Programming is organized within five intensive tracks that reflect the top priorities of the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision action plan: Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), Youth Engagement, and Transforming Texts (presented in partnership with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). View the detailed schedule.

“For clergy, synagogue professionals, and lay leaders, the URJ Biennial offers new and creative solutions about every aspect of congregational life,” said Chair of the URJ Biennial 2017 Luise Mann Burger. “Biennial is simply the best way for local leaders to learn from, share ideas, and network with peers and leading experts.”

Rabbi Marci Bloch of Temple Beth Orr stated, “I have been to several Biennials and I always take home something to better my congregation. I also love the impact Biennial has on those lay leaders who attend with me. It really does nurture people’s souls.”

“I am very excited to attend this, my first Biennial.  I hope to learn more about exciting and flexible membership and education models, that will help us to continue to remove the barriers to affiliation at Temple Beth Orr. Our congregation has a legacy of being forward thinking and I know this opportunity to come together with 5000 other Reform Jews, in a learning and spiritual environment, will continue us on the path of innovation and transformation in the coming years.” said President Lori Weinstock.

Among the highlights of the 2017 Biennial:

  • 200 learning sessions of intensive, focused training for lay and professional leaders
  • Inspiring worship, Torah study, and Jewish learning opportunities
  • Exciting plenary sessions with world-renowned speakers, including URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leading authors, expert practitioners, Israeli and North American opinion leaders
  • Best Jewish music line-up anywhere including 3 dozen leading musicians and groups, and the Biennial choir featuring conference participants
  • A 5,000-person Shabbat celebration
  • An exhibit hall with more than 150 vendors and Jewish organizations
  • New daily themes: Diversity, Innovation, Action, Faith, Community
  • Resolutions adopted by URJ Biennial delegates address social, economic, and humanitarian issues. Topics of the proposed resolutions being deliberated and voted on at the 2017 Biennial include pursuing racial justice, addressing the impacts of climate change, redistricting, school discipline and academic climate, student on student sexual violence in schools, and responding to the global refugee crisis.

Biennial attendees will hear from illustrious speakers and expert practitioners, including:

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, social justice leader of Moral Mondays, Repairers of the Breach
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative: her study exposed elevated lead blood levels in Flint children
  • David Grossman, Israeli author and activist, just named the winner of Man-Booker International Prize for Literature
  • Krista Tippett, host of On Being public radio show and podcast
  • Jodi Nussbaum, VP, Sesame Workshop
  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
  • Daryl Messinger, Chair of URJ North American Board of Trustees

> Visit for event info.

> Use hashtag #URJBiennial. Follow the URJ on Facebook & Twitter.

About the Union for Reform Judaism

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay adept and agile, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.

Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with almost 900 member congregations and work that inspires millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.

Visit us at to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.