Ten Minutes of Torah Submission Guidelines
Thank you for your interest in writing for Ten Minutes of Torah (TMT), a daily email each weekday that brings the Reform Jewish world to the inboxes of subscribers worldwide. Please read through these guidelines in their entirety to ensure that your submission is suitable for our needs.
Each daily email focuses broadly on the theme of the day:
- Monday: Reform Voices of Torah is an interpretation of the weekly parashah (Torah portion) by a Reform Jewish leader who commits to pen the commentary for an entire book of Torah. At this time, we do not accept open submissions for Reform Voices of Torah, although individual essays on the weekly parashah may be submitted as blog posts.
- Tuesday: Celebrating Jewish Arts and Culture covers topics such as literature, film, museums, restaurants, and more – all with a Jewish bent.
- Wednesday: Israel Connection essays focus on eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel) and Medinat Yisrael (the modern State of Israel), seeking to promote connections between the land and the North American Jewish community.
- Thursday: Reform Life, Jewish Life essays highlight myriad facets of Jewish life from social action and history to education, congregational life, inter-religious affairs, and more in the Reform tradition.
- Friday: The Rhythm of Jewish Time includes personal essays about Jewish life, Shabbat, holidays, and more. Friday essays are featured in the Weekly Update, an email roundup of Jewish news and timely resources.
Send submissions as Word documents (no PDFs, please) to editor Jane Herman at email@example.com.
Timing and Flexibility
Given the time sensitivity of many TMT submissions, the editorial team makes a good faith effort to publish essays so that, to the extent possible, they coincide with holidays, news events, and other factors.
With this in mind, essays may need to be rescheduled to accommodate breaking news, the week’s overall editorial balance, or other circumstances. Any post that is bumped from the TMT schedule will still be published as a blog post and shared through the URJ’s social media channels.
Readers of Ten Minutes of Torah are a diverse mix of people, including synagogue members, synagogue leaders, affiliated and unaffiliated Jews, and those who simply are curious and want to learn more about Judaism.
Posts are optimally 500-800 words in length. Telling a story in fewer words that pack a compelling and powerful punch is always more successful in online space than lengthy, wordy efforts.
Several types of posts are generally acceptable for the blog:
- First-person perspectives or personal essays on matters of Reform Jewish interest
- How-to pieces (e.g. what to expect the first time you attend a bar mitzvah)
- Blessings, prayers, or poems
- Commentary on the Torah or other Jewish texts
- Sermons or speeches
- Commentary on articles, videos, or podcasts of Reform Jewish interest
- Remembrances, whether personal memoirs or memorial tributes to those who have recently passed, or of long-gone figures of interest
A good essay often includes a call to action, e.g. the end of a post lists ideas, poses a question, or asks users to post their own thoughts.
Please adhere to the following stylistic guidelines:
- Do not use underlines or all caps for any reason.
- Rather than using footnotes, please link to appropriate materials or, where links are unavailable, reference them through explanation or in parentheses.
- Avoid use of the words “click here” or “here” when linking to a referenced item. Instead, link to a relevant part of the sentence.
- Wherever possible, link to cited sources and any material to which your essay refers.
- Italicize transliterated Hebrew or other languages and include a translation of such words and phrases upon first mention.
- Indent paragraphs of quoted material.
All TMT submissions are edited for grammar, punctuation, style, and editorial flow. Occasionally, the editorial team will return a submission to its author to suggest changes, omissions, and/or additions that the team deems necessary to strengthen the post so that it may become appropriate for publication.
Title and Bio
All submissions must include a suggested title, subject to modification by the editors. A compelling title that is descriptive of the content of the post will garner more readers.
Additionally, all essays should be signed using the author’s real name and should include a one- to three-sentence bio, noting any affiliation with a congregation or Jewish organization or institution.
All blog posts, including those distributed via TMT emails, must include an image.
Please feel free to submit a photo to accompany your post, as long as you have rights to use it or have received written permission from the copyright owner. Photos on Flickr that use the Creative Commons licensing agreement may be used with a credit. Reproducing copyrighted material is not permitted.
If you do not submit a photo or if your photo submission is for any reason deemed unusable, our editors will select appropriate stock imagery, at their discretion, to accompany your piece.
Videos that have been posted on YouTube or Vimeo may be embedded in a blog post without permission from the original poster.
Terms and Conditions
Posts must comply with the Union for Reform Judaism’s Terms and Conditions, which generally state that any material that is defamatory or violates the rights or privacy of others in any way is not permitted, and that the editorial team has the right to remove material that is deemed as such.
Posts should not read as advertisements, brochures, marketing pieces, or donor solicitations for any event, program, or offering, as such posts will discredit the integrity of TMT and the blog as places for discussion of Reform Jewish issues.
The editorial team will choose posts to display and feature on the blog and will decide which posts receive “top billing” on the homepage’s rotator feature. Additionally, selected posts may be promoted via social media channels affiliated with ReformJudaism.org, including but not limited to:
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+)
- Email newsletters and listservs
- Cross-posting on affiliate websites or blogs
- Encouraging staff, board members, affiliates, and others to read, comment, and share posts
TMT authors are strongly encouraged to promote their posts using their personal social networks and to share their posts with their congregations for further promotion.
Writers retain all rights to their pieces published on ReformJudaism.org. If you would like to cross-post or reprint your blog post elsewhere, please include the line "This piece originally appeared at ReformJudaism.org," with a link back to the original on this site.
At this time, Ten Minutes of Torah does not offer payment to its writers.
© URJ 2015