Leadership Connections #19: July 15, 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



New Teshuvah: Are We There Yet? Pandemic’s End, and What Happens Then

Though the pandemic has not ended, for many communities a “return to normal” has begun or is at least being contemplated, and the members of the Rabbinical Assembly CJLS are working to address the questions that colleagues and their communities are asking anticipating that transition. One first step in that process is the release of a new teshuvah “Are We There Yet? Pandemic’s End, and What Happens Then,” which offers guidance for communities on the ethical and legal parameters to consider in timing a “return to normal” and deciding which, if any, COVID time practices should be extended. Our movement embraces halakhic pluralism and the individual rabbi serves as mara d’atra to make the best decision for his/her community. Read the Teshuvah here. Source sheet here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Visit the New and Updated CJ High Holidays Site
    On this newly redesigned collaborative movement site, you will find sample letters to community members; guidelines for in-person gatherings; technology tips for hybrid virtual/in-person activities; program ideas; and High Holiday resources. Visit the site here. We invite you to participate by submitting materials here.
  • Relational Strategies for a Changing World
    USCJ’s Bob Leventhal, Director of Leadership Development, presents on relational strategies including: creating personal encounters, helping people tell their stories, and reimagining volunteerism. View recording here. Presentation slides are here.
  • Preparing for a High Holidays Like No Other
    As we all prepare to move more meaningfully towards what we once considered “normal,” each community has some big decisions to make. View this webinar in partnership with USCJ, NAASE, Cantors Assembly, Jewish Educators Assembly, Rabbinical Assembly, and Jewish Youth Directors Association to learn more. View recording here.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Synagogue Financial Health Checklist


Barry Mael, USCJ’s Senior Director of Synagogue Affiliations and Operations, prepared this Financial Health Checklist. Whether you are an incoming President or officer or a member of the professional staff this time of year offers an excellent opportunity to check in on where your preparation and systems are for the upcoming fiscal year. For those of you who have a January or another fiscal year it is important to see if you have these programs and systems in good shape or where you need to implement new practices. View checklist here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Better Together in a Box Grant
    “Better Together in a box” is a grant program run by Better Together with an all-inclusive curricular guide to enable teen programs to run a safe virtual program between tweens/teens and the elderly. Jewish day schools, congregational schools, Hebrew high school programs, youth groups, and Jewish college programs may apply for a program grant of $5,000 for fall, or for a grant of $10,000 for fall and spring. Learn more here. Apply here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • Selihot Night Live
    Saturday, August 28th from 8:30PM to 1AM ET
    Last year 24,000 people participated in our Selihot services, please join us. And join our list of sponsoring synagogues and organizations. Sponsors will be able to distribute Zoom links to their communities. Please click here to register.
  • Hanukkah Homecoming: Save the Date!
    December 3-5, 2021

    A growing coalition of 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 free, flexible, and fun. The platform will be provided; you organize the gathering. Learn more at hanukkahhomecoming.org.


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.