Temple Vice President Michelle Markowitz was part of the Temple contingent that attended the URJ Biennial. Like President David Weisberg, this was her first time attending. David shared his thoughts with us; now it’s Michelle’s turn:
I had heard someone describe Biennial as “Jewish Disneyland.” After being there, I feel like that was a pretty accurate description. Everybody was happy to be there and excited about the future of Reform Judaism, both here in the United States and in Israel.
There were so many things that stood out for me. The diversity within our movement is truly inspiring, and the efforts made to include all people, regardless of sexual orientation, disability, or race, and engage in “audacious hospitality” was a common thread that ran through Biennial. The worship also stood out for me, not just because of sheer numbers – I’ve never prayed with 5,500 people before – but mostly because it was joyous, spiritual, and familiar all at the same time.
While I learned many things, the one that stands out in my mind was the focus of the Reform Movement both historically and today on issues of social justice. According to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, “if the Judaism we offer our young people doesn’t speak to the great moral issues of the day, it won’t speak to them.” With all that goes on in the world, I’d love to see how we can utilize Temple Emanuel to discuss and even act on these great moral issues.