Union for Reform Judaism Shabbat
BHC is a proud member of the national Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). It has become our custom on the final Friday of each January to gather for a URJ Shabbat, together with the other local Reform congregations and a national leader of Reform Judaism. Join us this year as BHC hosts the URJ Shabbat with Baltimore’s Reform congregations on Friday, January 25, 6:15 pm. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen and Cantor Sacks will be leading the service. They will be joined by April Baskin, who will speak on the topic “Joyous Justice: Remaining Resilient while Navigating Adversity,” and special musical guest, Jo-Ellen Unger, Director of the URJ Creative Arts Academy, whose office is based at BHC. Come feel the connections between our Reform congregations and Reform Judaism as a whole.
April N. Baskin is the URJ’s Vice President of Audacious Hospitality (2015-18). Before coming aboard in August 2015, April served as the National Director of Resources and Training at InterfaithFamily. Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to social justice, April has spent over 15 years advocating for Jewish diversity inclusion throughout North America. Currently, one of April’s many tasks is facilitating the URJ’s JewV’Nation Fellowship’s Jews of Color Leadership cohort, as well as serving on the Leadership Team of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.
Throughout her education and career, Jo-Ellen Unger straddled the worlds of Jewish Education and the Arts. A performer since childhood, she developed her skills in voice, theatre and dance at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida, the Fine Arts program at Florida State University, and the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City. Jo-Ellen held the position of Assistant Director UAHC (now URJ) Camp Coleman, coupled with the role of SEFTY (NFTY SE) Regional Advisor, which later evolved into the position of Southeast Council Regional Director for Junior and Senior High School programs. Most recently, Jo-Ellen was the Director of Congregational Learning at Har Sinai Congregation here in Baltimore before becoming the Inaugural Director of the URJ 6 Points Creative Arts Academy.