April 2021 Newsletter


Dear Webmasters:

Having passed the one year mark in the pandemic and with the new availability of vaccines, we are looking toward the future with a renewed sense of hope. If your congregation is looking to reopen, here are some updated guidance on congregational reopening.

I am pleased to announce that our brand new, custom-developed calendar management system is ready and has been rolled out across the entire platform on all sites. The RJ Web Builder Calendar plugin is tailored specifically for congregations and aims at simplifying the calendar process. After years of glitches and technical issues with the current Events Calendar plugin, our custom fixes were no longer working. Some of the main bugs included issues with recurring events, duplicate events, and automatic updates and deletion of events.

We decided to put our time and energy into building out a brand-new plugin from the ground up, addressing all those bugs and issues and making sure all the promised features work. The RJ Web Builder Calendar plugin was designed to work well with google calendars, a service that many of our congregations use.

It is set up similarly to the current plugin in that you will need the public .ics link to schedule an import. You can also use a .ics link from any third-party calendar source or simply set up your events directly through the dashboard of your site. For each imported calendar, you will need to set up a category, and you can also create a different calendar color for each. From there, you can set up single or multi-category calendars or single or multi-category Upcoming Event boxes using a widget or a widget module. All settings are included within the widget or module.

We understand the importance of having a fully functioning calendar. To that end, we have created several tutorials to help you set up this new plugin. We hope you will switch as soon as possible. The current Events Calendar plugin will remain active till the end of the year. If you have any questions, issues or need help, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Don’t forget to utilize the Communications group or the RJ Web Builder group in The Tent as a place to share resources, ask questions and connect with other communities and congregation webmasters.

Many of our congregations are offering virtual opportunities that your members can take advantage of. Browse the Reform Movement calendar for a full list. If your congregation has a virtual gathering or program that's open to the public, submit it for inclusion in the Reform Movement calendar.

Please help me congratulate the congregations who have gone live recently on RJ Web Builder 3.0 (a full list is always available on the help site):

Congregation Har-El, Palm Desert, CA
Congregation B'nai Israel, Baton Rouge, LA
Congregation Beth Israel, North Adams, MA
Jewish Center of Northwest Jersey, Washington, NJ
Congregation Sons of Abraham, La Crosse, WI

Joel Emerman
Congregational Websites Manager
Pronouns: he/him/his
212.452.6579 (Central Time)

Quick Tips

How to Set up Your Site Name
When your site is first set up, the site name in the browser bar is often set to your URL or the name of the theme. You will want to change this.

How to Allow a User to Define Exact Donation Amount
If you’re setting up a donation form and you want the user to be able to donate any amount, follow these steps.

Did You KNow?

The Reform Movement Marketplace is Open for Business
Access products and services that reduce the costs of running a congregation and simplify day-to-day operations.

Count the Omer on Your Website
The period between Passover and Shavuot is called the "Counting of the Omer." Omer means "barley sheaf" and refers to the offering brought to the Temple on the second day of Passover. Make sure your congregants can count the Omer by creating a custom HTML module and embedding this code onto your site.

Holiday Resources are Always Available
Your congregation is welcome to cross-post any content from ReformJudaism.org (with attribution). Help your members keep track of upcoming holidays with this printable Jewish holiday calendar. Holiday ads can be found in one place in The Reform Movement Marketplace.

Staying In Touch

We are challenged in reaching current webmasters due to high turnover and changes in email addresses. If you are receiving this email, you are the person who was reported to the URJ to be handling your congregation's website. If there are additional people who need to be on this list or if you need to get off this list, please send corrected information to datamgmt@urj.org.


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