Everyone knows the OU, it’s iconic. But the icon, which first appeared on food products back in 1923, has moved off supermarket shelves and into the future with an expanded vision about serving the needs of North America’s member synagogues and Jewish communities worldwide. And now, in 2011, the OU is asking you to participate in shaping that future vision at a National Convention set to focus on issues beyond organizational policy or officer elections.
This year’s event is scheduled to take place Friday-Sunday, January 14-16, 2011 at the Woodcliff Lake NJ Hilton, and is structured in three parts: the Shabbat program is open to leadership (OU-member synagogue rabbis, presidents, board members, delegates and their families), while Motzei Shabbat’s Session: “The Cost of Jewish Living”, as well as Sunday’s One Day Conference on Jewish Life are open to all.
The OU has undergone some remarkable growth in the past decade and you’ll find this reflected in an extraordinary lineup of workshops and discussions led by a diverse group of professionals and community leaders:
Is Tefillah a One Way Street or Does God Talk Back? – In Search of the Real Eishet Chayil (How Perfect Must a Woman Be?) – The Cost of Free Speech on the Internet – The Conversion Controversy in Israel and its Effects on the Diaspora – The Keys to Unlocking and Maintaining a Happy Marriage – Coping Strategies for Parents – Food, Body Image and Eating Disorders – Challenges and Opportunities posed by the Child with Special Needs.
And that’s just to name a few!
One of the most interesting panel discussions scheduled, set to be anchored by OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Steven Weil, will examine the role of Orthodoxy in the Jewish community of tomorrow. Given that the Orthodox community’s growth is out of proportion to the rest of North American Jewry, this presents an opportunity to reflect on the weakening commitment of successive generations of non-Orthodox movements and how that void can be filled.
If you want to learn more about how OU resources and programs are gearing up to meet that future challenge, information booths will be set up for various departments: OU Kosher, Birthright Israel, OU Job Board, OU Press, Yachad (National Council on Jewish Disabilities), JLIC (Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, Community/Synagogue Services, etc.
An innovative feature of this year’s Convention is the OU Listening Room. From 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday January 16, you’re invited to visit. The OU wants to hear your thoughts and encourages you to share what’s on your mind with OU leadership (two officers will be present throughout the day). You can take the microphone for five minutes and tell the OU what you think about its programs, ask questions, or offer ideas. The OU promises to listen to your comments and give consideration to suggestions that will work for the benefit of the community.
Or… you can just jot something down and drop it in the Idea Bank. In fact, why wait? The OU Idea Bank is now open and letters can be posted to OUListens@ou.org
OU | World’s Largest Jewish Resource can always be accessed online, but leadership partners only convene once very two years. For the first time in a long time, this is taking place in the Greater New York area and you are invited to be part of it. Here’s how:
For general information, click OU National Convention or visit: www.ou.org/convention/
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.
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