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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is Enduring Jewish Knowledge from the Perspective of the Union of Reform Judaism?

In this portion of the blog we are focusing on what constitutes enduring Jewish knowledge from the perspectives of different Jewish educational agencies and religious movements.

In this particular post we will share the perspective of the Union of Reform Judaism and elaborate upon their three themes of enduring understandings: The Torah, Avodah and G’milut Chasadim.

The information on the chart below comes from the website of the Union of Reform Judaism on the CHAI Curriculum,

The Enduring Understandings within the CHAI Curriculum of the Union of Reform Judaism

Enduring Understandings



Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its students. Torah is real in our daily lives; it goes with us wherever we are. Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives.


Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections

to G-d, community, and self. Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning and insight to our lives and community

G’milut Chasadim

We have a responsibility to perform personal acts of g’millut chasadim to make the world a better and holier place.

Each of these themes of enduring understandings has seven levels of depth or complexity. On the chart below see the seven levels related to the Torah:

The information on the chart below comes from the website of the Union of Reform Judaism on the CHAI Curriculum,

Seven Levels of Enduring Understandings Related to the Torah




I am part of the ongoing story of Torah and the Jewish people


Torah teaches me how to be part of the Jewish people.


The laws and rules found in the Torah can help us to live a life filled with holy moments.


With the promise of a holy land (Eretz Yisrael), we as a holy people (Am Yisrael) have a responsibility to work towards becoming holy by observing the brit (covenant).


The prophets were focused on reminding the Jewish people how G-d wants us to live, and their messages are at the heart of Reform Judaism.


Studying Jewish texts allows us to explore our relationship with G-d and reflect on the ways G-d is continuously revealed to others and to ourselves.


My life is reflected in and reflects Torah.

See the URJ website on the CHAI Curriculum,, for specific information on the seven levels of enduring understandings related to Avodah, and G’milut Chasadim and additional curriculum resources.

On the next post we will explore this question: What is Enduring Jewish Knowledge from the perspective of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism?

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