New Ways of Working
Pirkei Avot 3:17
If there is no flour, there is no Torah study.
- Who should be contacted when a congregation needs help or has a question?
- Help will never be more than one phone call or email away. The Knowledge Network will continue to be available at 855-URJ-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org to provide advice and answer questions. As the URJ becomes a more networked organization, more and more congregations will ask their questions in The Tent. There they will be able to draw on not only the input of the URJ staff, but, critically, of other congregations as well as partner organizations.
Times of crisis and transition are obviously critical moments for any congregation. Congregations must be able to turn to the URJ for support during those times. When a building is damaged, when there is a real division between a rabbi and a congregation, when congregations are thinking about merging or going out of business, or when a new community is considering affiliation with the Movement, the URJ must and will be there for our member congregations.
We are committed to continuing to develop our ability to deliver short-term, intensive one-on-one services. This consultative approach will be led by the URJ, and may be provided by our staff, by a consultant retained by us, by a qualified lay leader, or a by a leader from a peer organization.
Community services are experiences that combine in-person and remote group learning as well as supported experimentation. They may be of short or medium duration. They include training and development workshops (such as the Biennial or the Scheidt Leadership Training Institute for Congregation Presidents) as well as facilitated and peer-led Communities of Practice.
Community groupings also includes the lay-led URJ Community structure as it continues to grow from the current 28 Communities up to the 35 that are planned.
In addition, communities are built through longer immersive experiences such as residential summer camps, NFTY travel programs, Birthright Israel trips, and Mitzvah Corps service projects for youth and adults.
Network services will be accessible to leaders of member congregations at any time, as their needs arise. These services will include an online platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing, access to resources, web-based training, and peer-led network activities. Members will be able to find and manage information easily and independently. Congregations will be active participants in this process, asking specific questions and contributing resources.
The URJ will also provide a concierge-like service (help desk) that will provide personal customer service to help congregational leaders navigate the different offerings and appropriate services. This is an enhancement of the recent experimental investments made during the last two years in developing The Tent.
MORE ABOUT THE TENT
More than 2,000 lay and professional leaders from throughout our Movement are finding answers to their questions, sharing ideas, and making meaningful connections within The Tent, which comprises groups based on areas of interest, including membership, communications, worship, and others. There also are private groups for congregational presidents, executive directors, cantors, and other leaders.
We already have seen some wonderful collaboration on The Tent:
- A temple educator wanted to know if any congregations live-stream High Holidays worship with sign language. Through an inquiry on The Tent, she was able to connect with congregational leaders across North America who already are engaged in this inclusive practice.
- In another instance, the audit chair of a small Midwestern congregation asked if anyone had experience creating an endowment fund foundation, separate from the board of trustees. He quickly got feedback on The Tent from temple administrators and URJ staff offering direction, support, and insight on the matter.