What is the World Union for Progressive Judaism and why is it holding this event?
The World Union For Progressive Judaism, founded in London in 1926, is the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements, serving 1,200 congregations with 1.7 million members in more than 40 countries. The World Union strengthens Jewish life in Israel and worldwide by establishing and supporting modern, pluralistic congregations and institutions, developing Jewish communal and youth leadership and advancing social justice.
The World Union’s biennial international convention is a unique event – full of spirit, learning, sharing and fun – where Reform, Progressive and Liberal Jews from around the world come to connect with each other and help shape the future of their movements.
Who can attend CONNECTIONS 2009? Whom will I meet there?
All who have an interest in Progressive/Reform/Liberal Judaism are welcome, whether or not they are affiliated with a World Union congregation. You will meet peers – religious and lay leaders – from all over the world.
What provisions are made for those with disabilities?
Some facilities can accommodate individuals with disabilities. To help us serve you better, please check the appropriate box on the registration form and a Kenes representative will contact you to discuss your needs.
How should I dress for CONNECTIONS 2009?
Attire for all sessions is casual; at the closing ceremony and gala reception, it is slightly more formal.
Will the food be kosher?
Any meals served will be Kosher. Additional details will be provided closer to the event.
How do I register?
Click here to register directly online, or click here to download a printable copy of the registration form to complete and to mail or fax.
What is the deadline?
The early bird discount deadline is November 30, 2008.
After that, full price registration is open until the opening day of the convention.
What is the cancellation policy? What if I need to change my plans?
All cancellations must be faxed, e-mailed or post-marked by February 1, 2009. Refund is 100% less $60 handling fee for cancellations received prior to February 1, 2009. Refund is 50% less $60 handling fee for cancellations received prior to February 24, 2009. There is no refund for cancellations after March 1, 2009.
Accommodations – All changes/cancellations must be received in writing by fax or e-mail to Kenes International. Please do NOT contact the hotel directly. Refund is 100% for cancellations received at least 30 days prior to arrival. There will be a fee of one night’s stay for cancellations received between 7 and 29 days prior to arrival. In the event of non-arrival , payment will be non refundable.
Can I bring a spouse/partner/friend? Is there a parallel program? Will they pay the full fee?
Everyone is welcome, but each individual must fill out a separate registration form. Registration is for the entire convention, and there is no convention program for spouses or partners.
How do I register for the special trips?
All travel and field trips during the convention are included in the registration fee. To sign up for special trips before or after the convention, click here for information and instructions.
I am traveling independently, not with a group or mission. Do I register for the event and hotel first, or make flight arrangements first?
You can register for the event and reserve a hotel room before you have flights. Once you book your flights, please make sure that they are consistent with your hotel check-in and check-out dates and times, and contact Kenes with the details either by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 1-877-259-0155 (USA only) or +972-3-972-7529. Please add your flight details to your registration as soon as you have made these arrangements. You can do this after convention registration by logging on to the site with your personal User ID and Password, which you will establish during the online registration process.
Must I book my travel through the CONNECTIONS 2009 provider, or can I make my own arrangements?
You are free to use any agent or travel service you wish, or to make your own travel arrangements. You may also wish to look into these tour operators: Gil Travel, Kenes Tours. REMEMBER: You MUST register for the convention separately in order to assure your reservation.
Do I need a special visa? Are there any special passport regulations?
A valid passport is required for all U.S. and Canadian participants. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six months after your departure date. There is no visa requirement for U.S. or Canadian citizens traveling to Israel. Other nationals should contact the appropriate consulate to find out about their regulations. No inoculations are required at present for travel to Israel, but please check with local public health authorities for au-to-date information.
What will the accommodations be like?
Click here to visit our page with full details about all convention-related accommodations.
Can I request a friend as my roommate?
If you wish to share a room with someone, please be sure to indicate that in the appropriate place on the registration form. The room reservation can be joint, but a separate CONNECTIONS 2009 registration must be made for every individual.
What will the weather be like in Israel in March?
The weather is variable, and can be pleasantly mild or still quite cool, especially in Jerusalem at night. Temperatures range from 2° to 15°C (36° to 60°F). Weather in Tel Aviv tends to be a bit warmer and more humid.
All transportation to venues during the convention is provided for and included in the registration fee. Transportation to and from the airport is not included. Individual and shared taxis to Jerusalem are available at Ben Gurion airport, which is in Lod, just south of Tel Aviv. You can also arrange ground transfers, as well as VIP travel services, from Kenes during the registration process.
Is insurance available?
We strongly recommend purchasing comprehensive travel insurance, including trip cancellation and luggage insurance. While the World Union does not endorse or recommend any particular plan, here are some resources: http://www.insuremytrip.com, http://www.travelguard.com, http://www.csatravelprotection.com.
Who are the major speakers and leaders at CONNECTIONS 2009?
Click here to see the current list of speakers and presenters for CONNECTIONS 2009.
These are subject to change without notice as circumstances may require.
What are the dates of the convention itself?
The opening ceremony is on the evening of Wednesday, March 18th; the closing ceremony is on Sunday night, March 22nd.
What are the dates of the optional programs before and after CONNECTIONS 2009?
Click on each program below for further details.
Where/how will we spend Shabbat?
We will all arrive in Tel Aviv in plenty of time to prepare for Shabbat. Our World Union congregations and constituents will be hosting convention delegates for Kabbalat Shabbat services and Friday night dinner.
Will there be any ‘free time’ during the convention when we will be on our own?
Yes, we have planned several opportunities for breaks and meals during free time. Check here to see when these are scheduled.
Cost and Money Matters
What is the registration fee? What does it include? What does it NOT include?
(up to age 30)
INCLUDED: Participation in the Opening Ceremony & Reception, all sessions and materials, field trips, walking tours, Closing Ceremony & Gala Reception, all transportation during the convention, lunch and dinner every day (except Saturday night) and CONNECTIONS 2009 souvenirs.Please note that Friday night dinner is included only for those who choose to participate in home hospitality.
NOT INCLUDED: Travel to and from Israel, airport taxes, airport transfers, VIP assistance at the airport, passport and visa fees, border taxes when applicable, hotel accommodations, dinner on Saturday night, items not part of the standard group meals and breaks, mineral water, tea, coffee, after meal beverages, personal expenses (i.e. laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls, postage, etc.), tips to drivers, guides, tour escorts and other services not indicated elsewhere in the CONNECTIONS 2009 materials.
What is the current exchange rate for the New Israeli Shekel (NIS)? What is the best way to get local currency?
Check here for the latest exchange rates for your national currency. There are ATMs throughout Israel where you can withdraw Israeli shekels from your account at a favorable exchange rate. We suggest that you use your credit cards for purchases or when going out to dinner.
Given the falling U.S. Dollar, are hotel rates and convention fees guaranteed not to change?
We strongly advise all participants to register early and to reserve their hotel accommodations as soon as possible in order to guarantee these posted rates as well as availability at the hotel of your choice. Dramatic economic downturns later in the year or next that affect the travel industry may impact these rates.