Note from Ned Gladstein, International President, USCJ

Ned Gladstein
USCJ International President
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Hevre,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones in good health.

Over the past two months, as we’ve been experiencing the impact of COVID-19, our professionals have been working closely with synagogue leadership teams and movement colleagues, to provide guidance for our communities as they take on unprecedented challenges and work to engage and support their congregations. We have hosted forums to share information and resources, and we have conducted webinars to share expertise and best practices to enable our leaders to guide their communities forward. Our in-person programs such as Sulam for Presidents were adapted and moved online, and new programs such as our revitalized Imun program will be launched virtually. While the challenges are many, we’re most excited by the opportunities we’re creating together. Like you, we’re finding some silver linings and inspiration within our current situation. Our staff’s response to these unprecedented challenges has resulted in unprecedented attendance by synagogue leadership in USCJ programming.

High Holy Days

Top of mind right now, are our upcoming High Holy Days. With the Cantors Assembly, Jewish Educators Association, NAASE and the Rabbinical Assembly, we have formed a taskforce to bring together colleagues from across the movement around how we’ll hold services, reopen buildings, engage our members, address the financial implications and the myriad of interconnected issues. We hope to engage in communal dialogue,as we move forward together. We will do more than we can do alone – and perhaps more than we sometimes expect. Please reach out to any one of our organizations for more information.

Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

USCJ has been asked by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to partner on The Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) initiative. Our participation will allow us to provide member synagogues access to a multi-million dollar interest-free loan program, and USCJ will serve as your “agent” in applying for these loans. More details are available on the USCJ blog, including information about a May 18th JCRIF webinar, presented by JFNA.

USY Update

Given the current limitations on USY’s ability to provide our normal local, regional, and national programs, our dedicated team has worked diligently to create over 100 online programs on USYfi for teens, ranging from virtual conventions to the Alumni Professional Series, Kadima Konnections, the NewlyFriend Game, and more. For the first time, parents have been able to observe their teen’s’ USY participation close up, and they have commented on how engaged their kids are.

I look forward to staying in touch as we all move forward with each other and our communities. If you have not yet, please take a moment and enjoy our pre-Passover global virtual event, a Global Gathering For Healing, hosted by Masorti Israel, Masorti Olami and USCJ. The 30-minute broadcast was on FacebookLive and YouTube Live, and close to 20,000 people from around the world enjoyed the featured song and prayer. And look for more information on a special Shavuot learning experience spearheaded by our partner, the Rabbinical Assembly.

Stay well,

Ned Gladstein

International President

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