Leadership Connections #12: April 2, 2021

Welcome to Leadership Connections, a twice monthly publication for synagogue leaders and clergy from USCJ.

The New Normal

Resources for synagogue leaders in the time of Covid



The Pandemic Torah

Rabbi Betsy Forester of Beth Israel Center in Madison, WI came up with an innovative way to celebrate the Torah when the pandemic arrived in her community. Read more here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • The Musical Midrash Project — Mark Sherman, from Congregation Neveh Shalom in Portland, has created an original way to integrate music into the Torah learning process. Read more here.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Apply For Imun 2021

Imun 2021 is an updated version of the popular Imun program that USCJ organized in the 1990s and early 2000s. It is a collaborative program of USCJ, the Rabbinical Assembly, and the Cantors’ Assembly, meant to empower lay leaders of small congregations (fewer than 200 member families) to fill certain ritual roles such as leading a Shabbat or weekday service, running a shiva minyan, visiting the sick, or officiating at a life cycle event. Applications are due May 1, 2021. Read about the faculty and program here. Register here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Scenarios of Strength: Idea Generator — We are asking synagogue leadership, both lay and professional, to now look to the future and develop creative solutions for the in-person/virtual engagement dilemma of our post pandemic environment. The three strongest ideas will receive seed money to implement their visions. Submissions must be received by 8:00 pm Eastern Time Zone on April 14, 2021. More information here.
  • Member Engagement in the Age of COVID: What Have We Learned? — Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time Zone, join this webinar to learn about some of the information and insights that have come from the recent USCJ and NAASE Synagogue Membership Survey. Register here.
  • Sulam for Officers — Sulam for Officers is an intensive leadership program that gives board officers and presidents resources and tools needed to contribute to the leadership team, and to support their journey up the leadership ladder. This virtual leadership development program will take place June 6-7. Register here.
  • Succession Planning — Robert Leventhal, USCJ’s Director of Leadership Development, hosted a webinar on March 23rd about creating a foundation of good leadership and finding the talent to fulfill those roles on an ongoing basis.
    • One member had this to say about the webinar: “Bob offered many practical tips that can be applied immediately. Over the course of this past year in particular, USCJ has provided many valuable products and services that have benefited our synagogue.”
    • View slides from the presentation here. Watch the webinar here.

Talk to Us!

Thanks for participating in our latest one-question survey!

Here’s what we found:

Readers were recently asked: When compared to the same time, are your members currently more engaged, the same, or less engaged?

They responded as follows:

If you would like more information on how to increase engagement please register for our April 6th Webinar, Member Engagement in the Age of COVID.

We are proud to offer the following resource, corresponding with the categories most often selected by respondents. Based on the survey responses we are working to provide more resources and will share them as they become available.

If you have any further questions about member engagement please feel free to reach out to your synagogue consultant.

Additional Resource:

  • Life Beyond Zoom — Corey Glazer-Bass, USY/Kadima Branch Director for Mizrach and Seaboard, gave a presentation on ways to congregate that don’t involve Zoom. View slides from the presentation here. Watch the webinar here.


District synagogue consultants are available to offer guidance on a variety of issues. Find your district and look up your synagogue consultant’s contact information by clicking here.