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Friday, December 13, 2013

Biennial Day 1

Shalom y'all!

Here are the names of the sessions I attended today:

1) More than Just Preschool!  An Opportunity to Transform Parents of Young Children into Synagogue Leaders.
- I took some great notes and I am excited to bring them back to TKE.  This was an inspiring and educational session!

2) Thinking Outside the Blocks: Why It's Critical for Your Congregation to Focus Beyond Its Early Childhood Center
- This session was held in an extremely LOUD location.  While it was pretty hard to hear a lot of what was being said...I was able to take down some great notes from the Powerpoint presentation.  Some of the ideas seem pretty basic - but we were given some ways to effectively approach and accomplish these ideas.

I started out the day with breakfast with Rabbi Lebow and followed that with a "quick" walk around the convention center.  This is probably the largest convention center I have ever seen.  Although there are over 5,000 participants here...because the center is so big, you really are not able to tell the size of the congregation unless we are all together.

I did attend a third session in the late afternoon.  This session was with Ruth Messinger, the President of AJWS, Rabbi Elyse Frishman of Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, NJ, Rabbi Sydney Mintz of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, Ca, and Rabbi Lisa Edwards of Beth Chayim Chadashim in LA, California.  This session was exploring the Jewish commitment to LGBT rights worldwide.  As you may or may not know, equality is kind of important to, anytime I get to attend a session on this, I am THERE!  It was really great to hear the stories of these four impressive women.  And, to top the experience off, Ruth invited me up to speak about the rabbinical delegation to Washington, DC.

After my sessions, I attended a cocktail hour with Ruth Messinger and other AJWS supporters.  It was great to hear Ruth address our small group.  From there, I went to have a nice dinner with many of our TKE delegation - good food and conversation!

The evening ended with an inspiring address from Rabbi Rick Jacobs - the President of the URJ.  As with every one of his speeches, Rabbi Jacobs gave a clear message, outlining his vision for the URJ in the upcoming years.  I am excited to be a part of this amazing Union!!!

Ok - it has been a long day and I am exhausted.  Time to get some rest to prepare myself for another great day at the URJ Biennial!!!

Rabbi Erin Boxt

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