Leadership Connections #18: July 1, 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



Prayers upon Returning to the Sanctuary as the Pandemic Ebbs

Here are resources from B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Cleveland, Ohio. They’ve provided a compilation of prayers for returning to the sanctuary as the pandemic ebbs. Read more.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Cyber Security and Ransomware: Protecting Your Community 
    Robert Graves presented about cyber security and how your synagogue can protect your community. View the webinar here. View more resources here.
  • Save the Date!
    Hanukkah Homecoming – A Great Miracle is Happening Here 
    Join together December 3-5, 2021 to celebrate the miracle of coming back together. A growing coalition of congregations, JCCs, Federations, Hillels, schools, camps, independent minyanim and Jewish organizations is coming together this Hanukkah for a worldwide rededication of our relational communities post-pandemic. You’re invited to be part of this extraordinary network to “recount the things that befell us” and “turn our mourning into joyful dancing.”  It’s freeflexible, and fun. We’ll provide the platform; you organize the gathering. Here are the simple steps to join in the Hanukkah Homecoming Weekend:
  1. Put the dates on your program calendar now – December 3-5.
  2. Click here to learn more about the backstory of “homecoming” and to sign up or get more info www.hanukkahhomecoming.org.
  3. During the coming months, decide what gatherings and events to offer during the weekend. We will be crowdsourcing program ideas on our website and Facebook page, so add yours!
  4. Use our free logo and marketing materials to brand and promote your events to the community in the Fall. A map of the world will indicate your participation and link to your website.

There is light at the end of the tunnel…

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Visionary Awards Webinar: Programming Ideas


Learn from a synagogue that partnered with local organizations to build community around the Shmita (sabbatical) year. Presenters will share the strategies they used to engage volunteers, expand their reach, and implement meaningful programming around Shmita. View recording here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Visionary Awards Webinar: Learning Ideas
    Hear about a collaboration between three synagogues that came together to create a dynamic new religious school experience. Learn how they developed shared goals, curriculum, and communications, as well as established both in-person and virtual learning programs. View recording here.
  • Visionary Awards Webinar: Ritual Ideas
    The winning congregation will talk about their Music Prayer Lab, a collaborative, spiritually uplifting musical experience in nature. Learn how they worked with their clergy to plan and implement in-person and virtual music and prayer opportunities. View recording here.
  • Israel will Recognize all Streams of Judaism on an Equal Basis
    Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai has spoken with the heads of the international Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform movements and told them, speaking for Israel’s new government, that he was committed to “Israel being open to all three streams, and recognizing them on an equal basis.” Read more here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • Relational Strategies for a Changing World
    Tuesday, July 6th at 1PM ET

    Join USCJ’s Bob Leventhal, Director of Leadership Development, for a presentation on relational strategies including: creating personal encounters, helping people tell their stories, and reimagining volunteerism. Register here.
  • Preparing for a High Holidays Like No Other
    Wednesday, July 7 at 3:00 PM ET
    As we all prepare to move more meaningfully towards what we once considered “normal,” each community has some big decisions to make. Join this webinar in partnership with USCJ, NAASE, Cantors Assembly, Jewish Educators Assembly, Rabbinical Assembly, and Jewish Youth Directors Association to learn more. Register here.
  • Tisha B’Av Virtual Reading
    Saturday, July 17 at night
    On Saturday night, July 17, Camp Ramah Nyack staff will livestream their Eicha reading for all. Save the date, Zoom link to come soon.

One Question Survey

This edition’s featured question:


We would like to plan our future issues with you in mind, please let us know what topics would be most helpful to you?



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.