Leadership Connections #14: May 6, 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



Conservative/Masorti Tikkun Leil Shavuot: 24-Hours of Torah

Our Rabbinical Assembly is excited to present the Conservative/Masorti Tikkun Leil Shavuot from May 16th at 12:00 PM – May 17th at 12:00 PM EDT in partnership with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the Cantors Assembly (CA), the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC), and Seminario Rabínico Latinoamericano.

Access to the experience is FREE for all, regardless of synagogue affiliation or organizational participation. A YouTube link will be made available via social media and all synagogue/organizational mailing lists.

Current co-sponsors for this program include the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, the Jewish Educators Assembly (JEA), and the North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE). To join this program as a paid partner, co-sponsor, or participating organization, register here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Torah Lending Program Resources — Our survey last week was about the challenge of reading Torah during the pandemic. As synagogues have worked to reimagine lifecycle events throughout the past year, several congregations have set up programs for loaning out Torah scrolls to families for use during b’nai mitzvah ceremonies that take place in people’s homes. Congregation Beth David in Saratoga, CA, has created a set of resource documents for their Torah lending program. You can view them here.
  • Getting Back to “In-Person” – A Case Study in Bringing Community Together — Learn how the leadership of one congregation honored sacred relationships while navigating challenging times and the needs of their community. Hear how clergy and lay leaders from Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains, NJ came together to create a strategy that meets the needs of their community. Watch the webinar here.
  • Google Group for Resource Crowd Sharing — We invite lay leaders, clergy, professionals and members from across the Conservative movement to join a new Google Group called CJcrowdshare, designed for the open sharing of ideas and questions related to restarting and expanding in-person programming as well as planning for high holidays.Our hope is that this Google Group will be a place that will benefit our communities in creating thriving sacred spaces. Sign up here.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

The Pivoting Present

Rabbi Ilana C. Garber, Director of Global Rabbinic Development, Rabbinical Assembly

Jennifer Stofman, MAJEd, Director of Synagogue Consulting, USCJ

Our clergy are talented and skilled; that, we already knew. Now they have become producers, directors, and stars of zoom services. Read about how our Rabbis and Cantors have adjusted their work during the pandemic and what they have learned about engaging with their communities. Read more here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Webinar Onboarding: Giving Leaders a Great Start — On Tuesday, May 11 at 1:00 PM ET, join Bob Leventhal, USCJ’s Director of Leadership Development, for a presentation and discussion on how to best onboard our new leaders and set them up for success. Register here.
  • New Directors’ Institute 2021 — Starting Monday, July 12 through Thursday, July 15, there will be a conference for Synagogue Education Directors, Early Childhood Directors, Principals, Directors of Congregational Learning, Rabbi-educators and Cantor-educators who are new in these roles or who have been hired within the past two years. Register here.
  • Mediation and Arbitration — For over 70 years, the USCJ Committee on Kehilla Standards has provided high quality, free alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to our synagogues, their clergy, and their professional staff, including executive directors, synagogue administrators, and educators. Use this link to submit a dispute. Read more here.

Talk to Us!

Thanks for participating in our latest one-question survey!

Here’s what we found:

Readers were recently asked: Given the events and challenges of the past year, how is your synagogue approaching Torah reading?

They responded as follows:

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 Torah reading please feel free to reach out to your synagogue consultant.


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.