Plaut Torah Commentary in Russian:
Now, for the first time, Russian readers throughout the world will be able to study the Progressive Movement’s signature Torah commentary— The Torah: A Modern Commentary (URJ Press), edited by Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, z”l (see story “Remembering Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut”). The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) spearheaded the project, overseeing a cadre of Russian-speaking Progressive rabbis, Jewish scholars, and translators working at WUPJ headquarters in Jerusalem and at Progressive Movement sites in the Former Soviet Union.

To learn more, contact Ron Wegsman at the World Union office in New York, 212.452.6533, To order, contact the URJ Press at 212.650.4120,

Tri-Faith worship service, 2009.

Tri-Faith Campus Going Up in Omaha: In December 2011, Temple Israel of Omaha, Nebraska co-purchased 35 acres of land in conjunction with the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture to co-create the world’s first tri-faith campus. Houses of worship and study for the three Abrahamic faiths are being built on adjacent parcels of land. The Tri-Faith Initiative of Omaha—comprised of all three organizations—is also constructing its own center to house social, educational, and conference programming designed to facilitate understanding among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam locally and internationally.

The synagogue, slated for completion in 2013, will be the first building in the neighborhood, to be joined by the mosque later that year or in 2014. The church and the Tri-Faith Center will be completed by 2014 or 2015.

To learn more, contact Wendy Goldberg, Temple Israel program director, at 402.556.6536,

Temple Emanu-El,

Women in U.S. & Israel Celebrate Simultaneous Shabbat: Last February 4, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) members in Arizona and Israel celebrated the joys of Shabbat and Havdalah together through a joint simultaneous Shabbat service led, chanted, and sung by women in both Temple Emanu-El (Tucson) and their “twinning” Congregation Emet Ve Shalom (Nahariya).

Kehillat Emet Veshalom, Nahariya.

Because Israel is nine hours ahead of Tucson, Emanu-El’s Saturday morning service was held concurrently with EVS’s Havdalah service. Both communities discussed the Torah portion B’Shalach in which Miriam leads the Israelites’ procession in celebration of their escape from Egypt; the women of Emanu-El re-enacted the procession with vocals, tambourines, and hand drums. The two congregations also exchanged drashim (commentaries on the week’s Torah portion), a woman at EVS reading the drash written by a woman in Tuscon and vice versa, and distributing packages of previous drashim written by women at each congregation. In addition the women cooked each other’s dessert recipes and served them after services.

For more information on how to create a similar program in your community, contact Carol Blatter, WRJ education chair in Tucson, Arizona, at 520.577.0252,

Mishkan T’filah iPad App: The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) has created the first prayer book app for the iPad— iT’filah: The Mishkan T’filah App. Based on the Reform Movement’s latest siddur, Mishkan T’filah: A Reform Siddur (CCAR Press), this interactive and portable service to the Friday night Shabbat liturgy is available via the iTunes App Store or at

Memphis Temple Logo Wins Award: The new “burning bush” logo of Temple Israel in Memphis, Tennessee is featured in Graphis Logo Design, an international publication highlighting the world’s leading trademarks and designs.

Working with congregational leaders, Tactical Magic, a Memphis-based branding firm, derived the logo from the Hebrew letter shin, “the same letter which appears on our sanctuary ark and on the doorposts of our homes,” says Rabbi Micah Greenstein. “The shin is replicated four times, to represent the four matriarchs of the Jewish people, and the 12 flames represent the 12 tribes of Israel. We now have a meaningful synagogue image to project not only to the Jewish community but to the entire community of faith.”

Irma Penn at work.

First Torah Scroll Scribed by Canadian Woman: On May 27, 2012, Temple Shalom in Winnipeg dedicated the first Torah ever scribed by a Canadian woman: congregant and artist Irma Penn. The Winnipeg Jewish community participated in completing the Torah, helping Irma write the letters on the final page of the parchment scrolls. For more information:

Triumphant students.

Reform Day School Wins Challenge Award: Last December, The Day School at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation became the only Reform day school and one of only 25 schools in North America to win a $25,000 challenge award from The Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE). Its “Dedication to Education” program, launched in spring 2011, succeeded in getting every parent to participate in its annual fundraising campaign, which “changed our culture of giving and set the stage for a rosier future,” says Gerri Chizeck, head of The Day School at Baltimore Hebrew. “We plan to utilize the grant funding to increase our use of technology and bring more professional development experiences to our faculty.”
Union for Reform Judaism.