WHEREAS, on December 2, 1978, the UAHC Board of Trustees responded affirmatively to a challenging address by Rabbi Alexander M. Schindler, and adopted the following resolution calling for the development of an Outreach Program.
Rapid demographic change is doing much to affect the future of American Jewry. Among the significant and critical demographic trends are the growth of mixed marriages; the decline of the Jewish birthrate relative to the general population; and the increase in the number of non-Jews converting to Judaism. These trends require our profound, serious, and continuing attention. They call for creative leadership so that we reach out to shape our future and do not become passive products of forces beyond our own control.
Accordingly, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations at its Board meeting in Houston on December 2, 1978, resolves:
- To intensify our formal and informal Jewish educational program within the Reform Jewish movement to stimulate positive and knowledgeable Jewish identification;
- To develop a sensitive program of welcoming and involving converts to Judaism, recognizing that those who choose Judaism in good faith are as authentic in their Jewish identity as those who are born Jewish;
- To develop an effective Outreach Program whereby the Reform synagogue can seek out mixed married couples in order to respond to the particular emotional and social stresses in their situations and to make the congregation, the rabbi, and Judaism itself available to them and their families; and
- To plan a special program to bring the message of Judaism to any and all who wish to examine or embrace it. Judaism is not an exclusive club of born Jews: It is a universal faith with an ancient tradition that has deep resonance for people alive today.
WHEREAS the Task Force on Reform Jewish Outreach was appointed and has been functioning since that time; and
WHEREAS an intensive effort is being made to facilitate progress in the development of a sensitive and effective program as defined in that resolution to reach the religiously unaffiliated and those who voluntarily wish to embrace Judaism; and
WHEREAS this Biennial Convention is the first opportunity to express approval of the Outreach Program;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT this General Assembly affirms the foregoing resolution, authorizes the continuation of the Task Force Program, and requests a progress report to be made to the 1981 Biennial Assembly.
We further call upon the congregations of our Union to make the Outreach Program effective by including the first three of its aspects in their own synagogue programming.