Reflections on the URJ Biennial

Temple President David Weisberg attended his first URJ Biennial last week. “[It was] unbelievable being with 5500+ fellow Jews from all across North America,” he says.

Weisberg was part of a Temple Emanuel contingent that traveled to Boston, Mass. for the opportunity to learn, share, and help shape the future of the Reform Movement. He shares more about his experience:

Q: What did you think it would be like, and what was it really like?

A: I was hopeful that I would be able to learn and further deepen my understanding of best practices across the Reform Movement. The Biennial was that plus more, including being able to meet with fellow congregational presidents and learn from them.

Q: What stands out for you?

A: The worship experiences at Biennial were like nothing I had ever experienced. For Shabbat services, singing the Sh’ma and having multiple Torahs cycle through the crowd of 5500+ was spectacular. Our prayers — along with the cantors and choirs singing — were uplifting and ultimately touched my soul.

Q: What are some things you learned?

A: Interestingly, I learned that there are a lot of Temple Emanuel (or Emanuel-El) across North America. I met congregants from other Emanuels in Toronto, Montreal, Dallas, New York, San Jose, and Hawaii. On a more serious note, I learned that we at Temple Emanuel have a lot of positives going for us. I also learned that there are steps we can take to build on the great foundation we’ve already established as we move into the future.

The next Biennial is in Chicago, Illinois on December 11-15, 2019. Perhaps you’ll join us?