The Good News About Biennial Learning Sessions

by Ed Burger

“Wow” is the first word that comes to mind: When the URJ recently invited the public to submit proposals for Biennial Learning Sessions, we knew we might face some hard decisions and that we would probably receive more proposals than we would be able to accommodate in San Diego this winter.

But we did not expect to get nearly 500 proposals!

We’re stunned by the outpouring of interest from within the Reform Movement and beyond, and we are inspired, both by the level of interest in the Biennial and by the quality of the submissions. The proposal period came to a close last week, and our Workshop Selection Committee met today to begin the process of culling the submissions. We’re thrilled to see submissions from Reform congregations and organizations as well as from the greater Jewish community. In total, nearly 100 organizations submitted proposals to present Biennial learning sessions.

This remarkable news gives us two new challenges. First, if you are among the many who submitted proposals (thank you, thank you, thank you!), please know that it will take us a while to get to back to you. We hope to respond to all proposals no later than May 10, 2013. Second, please bear in mind that strictly due to space and time constraints, the Workshop Selection Committee will have to say “no” much more often than it will say “yes.” (It is clear we could fill the entire five days of Biennial with exceptional learning sessions, but we have lots of other great things in store on the agenda for San Diego!)

The good news – and it’s very good news – is that we will have a truly outstanding slate of Learning Sessions to offer in San Diego.

Stay tuned!

Ed Burger is the 2013 Biennial Chair from Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT.