In First, music, stories

What a spiritual, intellectual, fun and informative few days, together with over 5500 reform Jews.

The sense of togetherness community comradery and healthy vision for a bright future.

From challenging learning session of text through debates about moral renewal of our society. A call for social justice, Audacious hospitality and inclusion.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs as well as other impressive speakers shed hopeful light for a brighter future for Liberal Judaism. A Judaism which belongs to everyone who calls him/her/self and wants to be counted in the wide family of being Jewish.

Daily worship services of all styles and a wide scope of Jewish music in each service.

Shabbat services KABBALT SHABBAT and SHACHARIT with over 5000 congregants has lifted our souls to higher spheres we ever have experienced.

Huge Choirs, Cantors, Rabbis, and rich engaging music made Shabbat so different and special.

The highlight of Shabbat was the song session which lasted for hours with hundreds of people of all ages participating with great joy, which cannot be described in simple words.

Late night concerts of all kinds presented by committed, talented young upcoming stars, known in the URJ wide scope of musical styles enriched each night a lively audience.

A special concert for a new call for social justice entitled “TOGETHER AS ONE” was presented and composed by ten of the great beloved singers and composers, the finest of our movement’s musicians. Their songs, and call for justice, really shaped the ambiance of the biennial.

I was proud to be among the 150 Cantors, members of the ACC (American Conference of Cantors). We roamed the floors of the convention visible and audible to the vast majority of participants. We sang at a popular Lunch Shabbat to the delight of large audience, making Shabbat very special with song and spirit.

One of the highlights of the biennial was the gathering of the World Union for Progressive Judaism which bestows the humanitarian award on special deserving people, this years’ recipients were philanthropists Nani and Austin Beutel of Toronto, and Rabbi Meir Azari, visionary leader of Tel Aviv’s Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism.

The highlight of the evening was the newly commissioned and compassed “Debbie freedman suite” for a full Symphony orchestra. Indeed Debbie would have been so proud and elated to hear this honor was bestowed on her.

All in all, it was a bonding experience for us to be together with our congregants and socialize in a relaxed manner away from home.

Enjoy the videos and the pictures in which I have tried to capsulize and share with you the flavor of how liberal Judaism can live flourish and make a difference in the world.


Cantor Beny Maissner

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