Ringing in the New Year With the Reform Movement

Making new year’s resolutions is not necessarily a Jewish concept. After all, we marked the start of our new year months ago! But as citizens of a global society – who still have to write “2013″ on our checks, not “5773″ – it’s difficult to resist the allure of the traditions that accompany the start of the secular new year. Here, a few of the most common resolutions – and how the Reform Movement can help you achieve them in the new year!

Lose weight. OK, so we can’t really help you with this one; you may need to join a gym instead. But what Reform Judaism can do is to help you feel less emotionally heavy, lifting the proverbial weight from your shoulders by connecting you to ancient teachings and traditions applicable to your modern-day life, as well as to a spiritually rich community. There’s no better time to join a congregation! Visit urg.org/congregations to find a Reform synagogue in your area.

Spend more time with loved ones. What better place to spend time with the people you love than at a family reunion? The URJ’s Biennial convention is a Reform Jewish family reunion, where Reform Jews from across the world gather to learn, pray, share ideas, dance and sing, hear from inspiring guest speakers, reunite with old friends, make new connections, and make decisions about the policies of the Reform Movement. This year, Biennial will take place December 11th through 15th in sunny San Diego, CA, attended by thousands of  Visit urj.org/biennial13 to sign up to receive Biennial updates and registration information as the event dates gets nearer.

Learn to cook. We all know food is important to the Jewish people, but not all of us have a killer kugel recipe hidden up our sleeves. If you’re hankering to learn bubbe’s secret recipes, Chef Tina Wasserman has you covered. Our new Food and Recipes page includes how-tos on Jewish foods from rugelach to matzah ball soup, from challah to Moroccan meatball tagine, and everything in between. You can search by keyword, ingredient, or recipe name – and submit a question for Tina if you get stuck.

Help others. Visit urj.org/give to make a donation to further the Reform Movement’s commitment to social justice, disaster relief, youth engagement, camping, Reform Judaism in Israel, and so much more. Looking for other ways to contribute to tikkun olam, the repair of our broken world? You can also participate in a Reform-sponsored project like the United Nations’ Nothing But Nets initiative to end malaria or Gift of Life‘s bone marrow registry efforts, or visit the Religious Action Center Chai Impact Action Center to write to your lawmakers in support of the issues that matter most to you and to the Reform Movement.

Learn something new. In 2003, the URJ’s then-president, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, said, “Who among us is so busy that he cannot spend 10 minutes a day in the study of a Jewish text? Just 10 minutes? Such a commitment would enable us to meet our Jewish obligation to make Jewish study a fixed occurrence.” Commit to a year of Jewish learning by signing up for Ten Minutes of Torah, a one-page email each day on a topic of Jewish interest. It only takes 10 minutes a day to get started on a lifelong journey. Spend 10 minutes a day — and before you know it you’ll have completed 100 hours of Torah study!

Enjoy life. This one is as easy as doing things you love – and if you’re helping others, cultivating a rich spiritual life, studying Torah, and eating good food while you do it… well, what’s there not to enjoy?

Wishing you all the best in 2013!