Frequently Asked Questions

What is different about Connections for 2023?

Previous conferences have followed a fairly traditional model including plenaries, workshops, keynote speakers and worship. Connections 2023 will instead embrace the “Unconference” model retaining all the elements people love about the event, while minimizing the amount of time spent in frontal presentations and more traditional learning formats. Participants should expect an engaging, interactive conference with plenty of opportunity for “re-connections.”

The Conference looks very upbeat and inspirational. Aren’t we going to talk about the troubling issues facing our communities and the world – Coronavirus, Ukraine, and Israeli democracy?

Yes! These issues will be a part of almost every facet of the conference from the opening session to the site visits to the day of coworking surrounding our central Progressive values and in our prayers and study together. We expect everyone to share their experiences – the challenges, the tragedies and the successes – in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. We also know how the pandemic still can affect participation in Connections. We will be highlighting the work of the WUPJ and our partners in supporting victims of the Ukrainian crisis. We will meet leaders from the Ukrainian Progressive Communities and others who are suffering from this terrible catastrophe. And, finally, our presence in Israel, the places we will visit and our interactions with our partners will help us navigate the complexity of Israel as we share our love for the land and our people.

Why is Connections being held in Israel?

The 75th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel is the moment for Progressive Jews from around the world to gather, celebrate and express solidarity with each other and our Israeli friends and colleagues.The WUPJ is a Zionist organization that has always viewed Israel as central to Progressive Judaism. This is why our global headquarters moved from New York to Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem 50 years ago. For many people from around the world, Connections offers a first opportunity in a number of years to travel to Israel and provides a unique moment to do so. Connections is an opportunity to explore the incredible achievements of our Movement and the modern State of Israel, and to spotlight key areas where Israel may reach our liberal Zionist ideals of a modern state. We also see the conference as an opportunity to provide our leaders with a way to take Israel back to their communities in a relevant and timely way.

Will I get to see Israel or will I be inside a conference center the whole time?

While our headquarters, Beit Shmuel, in Jerusalem will serve as the focal point for the Conference, the program will take us to key sites in Jerusalem and provide opportunities to see Israel in new and unexpected ways. Thursday will be dedicated to uncovering hidden gems and complexities in Israeli society in connection with our values and Movement. We are also excited to offer several pre- and post-Conference tour and travel options to see even more of the country.

What COVID precautions will be in place at Connections?

The planning team is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 situation both in Israel and in countries from where delegates are traveling. As the conference nears, we will release COVID protocols for the conference that are reflective of current government protocols and levels of transmission. We will endeavor to ensure that people feel safe at the conference whatever level of protective measures they may be used to or feel comfortable with. It is highly recommended but not required that participants take out travel insurance covering COVID-related travel disruptions.

I can’t afford the cost of Connections. Are bursaries or subsidized places available?

Connections is a global gathering of our Movement’s leaders and members – diversity is a key measure of the conference’s success. We are pleased to offer the conference at the 2017 price, despite the rapid rise in costs of the last year. Additionally, a limited number of discounted registrations are available. More information will be soon available from WUPJ and regions on how these will be shared. Please contact your local region and community for the possibility of assistance.

Can I register for only part of Connections?

Generally, we want participants to experience the full conference – the formal and informal moments. We find that “parachuting” in for just a day diminishes the overall experience. That said, Shabbat is a key component of the conference, and we are offering a Shabbat-only registration component that starts with Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday and runs through Saturday morning services, lunch, closing event and Havdalah.