Arizona Jewish leader elected to serve on URJ board

Deborah Fernandez Turner of Scottsdale’s Temple Kol Ami is among more than 23 reform Jewish leaders in North America recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism.

The URJ leads the largest Jewish movement in North America, providing vision and voice to build strong communities that together will transform the way people connect to Judaism and change the world, according to a press release.

Deborah Fernandez Turner

The URJ is the most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with almost 900 congregations reaching nearly 1.5 million people.

Dr. Fernandez Turner is also a member of Temple Emanu-El in Tucson where she has held several leadership positions including president, vice president, and religious school chair.

As a Jew by choice, she participated in the process of conversion and was called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El, the release stated.

Dr. Fernandez Turner is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has worked over the last 18 years primarily with the Arizona Medicaid population both in Pima and Maricopa counties.

“It’s an honor to have been elected to serve on the Board of the URJ,” said Dr. Fernandez Turner in the release. “My family and I have benefited from the impactful programming offered for teens as well as congregational leadership. The URJ is so much more than these individual programs. With a focus on inclusivity, social justice, equality and tikkun olam (social justice), the URJ encapsulates my own personal values and creates an avenue to be a part of something larger than ourselves.”

Dr. Fernandez Turner and her family enjoy participating in many of the URJ’s youth programs including NFTY, URJ camps, and the L’Taken Social Justice Seminars at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC.

“Our new board members bring their dedication to the ideals of the Reform Movement and the work of the URJ, and they honor us with their service,” said Chair of the URJ Board of Trustees Daryl Messinger, in the release. “I look forward to working with Deborah and the entire board to enhance the URJ’s effectiveness as we help our congregations and communities envision and create a 21st Century Reform Judaism that is inclusive, adaptable and thriving.”

For nearly 150 years the URJ has been at the forefront in promoting an open, progressive Judaism-on issues like gender equality, patrilineal descent, LGBT rights, environmental consciousness, and more, the URJ has remained a pioneering advocate of inclusivity and justice.

The Board of Trustees will help implement the URJ’s bold 2020 Vision as the forward-looking action plan for the future of Reform Judaism focused around Strengthening Congregations, Audacious Hospitality, Tikkun Olam (social justice), and Youth Engagement.

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