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Congregation B'nai Israel Of Bridgeport Chosen For National Initiative

Ira J. Wise, R.J.E., left, temple educator at Congregation B’nai Israel of Bridgeport, leads some of the temple's youth.
Ira J. Wise, R.J.E., left, temple educator at Congregation B’nai Israel of Bridgeport, leads some of the temple's youth. Photo Credit: Josh Mason-Barkin

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Congregation B’nai Israel of Bridgeport is one of 16 Reform congregations in North America selected to participate in the newly formed Union for Reform Judaism Community of Practice dedicated to Reimagining Congregational Education.

This URJ Community of Practice is a congregational networking group for Reform congregations seeking to discover new ways to innovate and experiment in congregational education. By participating in this initiative, B’nai Israel will have the opportunity to meet with leaders from congregations with common interests to share ideas and experiment together with new strategies.

“Our congregation has been a part of the greater Bridgeport area since 1859,” said Rabbi James Prosnit of B’nai Israel. “Our Temple Educator, Ira Wise and our Religious School Vision Team applied to join the Reimagining Congregational Education CoP because it is a logical next step to a project of growth and innovation that has been ongoing.”

“Across North America, people hunger for real connections. They want – they need – to be part of meaningful communities," said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “The URJ communities of practice will give Reform congregations opportunities to work together, take risks, explore new ideas, innovate and have unprecedented access to top experts."

The 16 congregations in the Reimagining Congregational Education Community of Practice will work together formally for 18 months to push the boundaries of existing congregational efforts. Participating congregations will receive guidance from peers and advisors to experiment in their own communities, create congregational innovations, and garner skills that will benefit all areas of congregational life.

“URJ’s Communities of Practice inspire congregations to build the skills to experiment and innovate in areas of congregational life that are important to them. We connect congregational leaders to each other as well as to experts, valuable resources, and learning opportunities,” said Amy Asin, URJ vice president of strengthening congregations. “From the work of previous CoP cohorts, we know that the support available in belonging to a committed group focused on areas of interest encourages congregations to delve more deeply into their work and creates a longer term commitment to build the skills for experimentation.”

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