Relational Judaism:
How To Do It and Why It Matters

MARCH 28 | 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.



How can focusing on relationship-building transform education and engagement in your community?  What does it mean to put people before program? Many of us talk about relational Judaism, but what does it actually look like on the ground and implemented in our institutions? Join the authors who literally wrote the handbook on relational Judaism, Rabbis Lydia Medwin and Nicole Auerbach, to learn how to launch a relational engagement campaign that will transform how your members connect to one another and to Jewish tradition.


Rabbi Lydia Bloom Medwin A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Lydia attended the University of Texas in Austin (hook ’em) and Hebrew University for undergraduate studies, earning degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Honors Humanities. Between undergraduate and graduate studies, she worked as the education director for a synagogue in Jackson, Mississippi, and traveled to places as varied as South Africa, Peru, and Greece.

Lydia was ordained on the Los Angeles campus of HUC in May of 2010. While there, she received a Masters of Hebrew Letters and a Masters in Jewish Education from the Rhea Hirsch School. She had formative experiences traveling to El Salvador with other student rabbis from across the denominations with American Jewish World Service, leading UCLA Hillel students on service trips to the Appalachian mountains and Yosemite, and engaging in an intensive course on community organizing. Lydia feels blessed to have worked with synagogue B’nai David in Visalia, synagogue Or Ami in Calabasas, the Hillel at UCLA, and as a teacher’s assistant at USC in Jewish history. She interned and later served for four years as a pulpit rabbi at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles.

While in rabbinic school, Lydia met her husband, Dan Medwin, and they and their three children, Zimra, Gavi and Jasmine, are thrilled to be a part of The Temple community in Atlanta, GA. Lydia is a co-Author with Dr. Ron Wolfson and Rabbi Nicole Auerbach on the forthcoming The Relational Judaism Handbook: How to Create a Relational Engagement Campaign to Build and Deepen Relationships in Your Community (Kripke Institute).


Rabbi Nicole Armenta Auerbach is the Director for Community-Building Initiatives at Central Synagogue in New York City, guiding a number of different programs aimed at building a sense of connection and community among Central’s members. In this role, she oversees adult education, as well as Central’s “small group” initiative, which creates and supports lay-led groups of congregants that come together on a regular basis to discuss Jewish ideas and build relationships. She is the author, with Dr. Ron Wolfson and Rabbi Lydia Medwin, of The Relational Judaism Handbook, which offers a step-by-step guide to building deeper relationships within Jewish communities and institutions.

Before rabbinical school, Rabbi Auerbach worked as an attorney for 10 years, first as a federal public defender, and then as a media lawyer specializing in First Amendment issues. She earned an undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies from Harvard, where she also earned her J.D. She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters, Catherine and Vivian, who are both enthusiastic members of URJ Crane Lake Camp, where Nicole also serves as faculty.