Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day One Blogging the URJ Biennial -San Diego

It is the great pilgrimage. Some would call it the holy convocation. Still others like to declare the Union of Reform Judaism Biennial as the ultimate Reform Jewish Mardi Gras that rotates from city to city every two years.
Last time the movement's leaders gathered together was in Washington D.C. Now we are enjoying the harbor scenes of downtown San Diego, CA. Tonight Congregation Beth Yam's delegation gathered together for dinner at Roy's inside the Marriott hotel for a wonderful evening of dinner. Our delegation is sixteen strong. I am particularly pleased that Linda as well as our daughter Leah and her boyfriend Michael have joined us as well. That takes us to 19 people. I gazed at the tables watching everyone enjoying themselves. Our president Mike Weingarten was so proud to have such a great and distinguished group with us as well. The sisterhood is represented by current President Janet Weingarten who informed us that today Our Sisterhood received an award for great programming. Cathy cite who will succeed Janet as president of Sisterhood and her husband Steve also are with us. Of course our representative on the North American Board of Women of Reform Judaism Elaine Lust does our congregation honor through her service on the national level.
Our forthcoming Temple president Twyla Sable and her husband Bob who also serves on our board are right in the mix gathering all kinds of information and insights in preparation for her new role. Ted and Jeri David are with us. Ted serves on the national URJBoard and on some critical finance and planning committees. Then comes our Temple religious school principal Judi Kleiman who who attends all sorts of workshops. Today Judi went to the workshop regarding the Bar Mitzvah revolution which is about reinvigorating our Temples' vision of an effective B'nai Mitzvah program. Her husband Stan who also serves on the board has a passion for Men's Club at Temple. We both could see so clearly why it is critical for all the men, for all ages at Beth Yam which we serve that affiliating  with the National Brotherhood is the right thing to do for our congregation. Finally Marcia Frezza, our outreach chairperson and board member along with her husband Tony joined us. Marcia is justifiably excited because on Thursday Beth Yam will receive our second Beilen award for an  outstanding program this past year. More to come tomorrow. Of course her husband Tony is with us. 
It really is an amazing group of dedicated leaders who care deeply about the well being of our congregation.
We are in the midst of almost 5000 attendees. There is music and entertainment, workshops and discussions, speeches social action resolutions on major issues of the day. Each of us will bring an idea or an insight back home. We will walk through the exhibition hall where all the artisans set up as well as reps from all kinds of Jewish organizations from all over the world. Of course the momentum will grow for Shabbat when all of us gather to pray, eat and sing our hearts out.  More tomorrow.
BTW - Linda and I enjoyed a late night concert by the well known singer and writer Julie Silver. 

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