Leadership Connections #20: August 5, 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 Teshuvot: Constituting a Minyan by Means of Virtual Technology

The Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee for Jewish Law and Standards has adopted two papers addressing the possibility of constituting a minyan over virtual technology. The first paper is by Rabbi Joshua Heller, who by arguing for a broad application of she’at hadehak (a pressing circumstance) outlines three options for leaders of Conservative minyanim. Members of the CJLS voted individually upon those three options. The committee had already offered unofficial guidance regarding this practice for pandemic times.

The second paper is by Rabbi David J. Fine. Rabbi Fine argues for a more limited reading of she’at hadehak, one in which the end of the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to a reapplication of the standards of constituting a minyan in person that were in place before the onset of the pandemic. Our movement embraces halakhic pluralism and the individual rabbi serves as mara d’atra to make the best decision for their community. Read Rabbi Heller’s paper hereRead Rabbi Fine’s paper here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Our Digital Mahzor Lev Shalem is Now Available
    This year’s digital edition of Mahzor Lev Shalem is now available! Thanks to your valuable feedback, we’ve added new features to enhance your experience:

    • A more intuitive, web-based interface for both computers and mobile devices (no app required)
    • Easy-to-use navigation that lets you click directly to the prayer or page you need
    • Choose between hosting the mahzor on your website of sharing a unique link to ebooks.rabbinicalassembly.org.

Explore a preview for Erev Rosh Hashanah or check out our FAQ. Congregations and communities may license the mahzor at a cost of $1 per user. They can also place individual or bulk orders at our online store or by calling our distributor, G & H Soho, at 201-216-9400 ext. 2. Please place your order by Tuesday, August 24.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Livestream Learnings
TODAY, August 5 at 1PM ET


More than a year after we all had to pivot to digital engagements and now that we are reopening, what does the future look like? From one of our movements largest synagogues, Rabbi Steve Wernick and Daniel Silverman of Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto will share their journey of developing and refining their digital strategy. Register here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Together Again: Praying with Song, Safety, and Kavanah This High Holiday Season and Beyond
    As the upcoming High Holy Days approach, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: can we all sing, celebrate and pray together safely with our congregations? We’ve gathered a panel of experts to provide strategies to help guide your decisions. View the recording here.
  • Elul is for Educators
    Join the JEA Professional Development Series. Find out more here.

    Thursday, August 12 at 1PM ET
    Hybrid? Online? In Person? Tips, Tricks & Troubleshooting from the Field. This session is open to faculty and staff. Register here.

    Thursday, August 19 at 1PM ET
    Keva and Kavannah: Setting our Intentions for the New Year. Preparing ourselves, our faculties, and our families. Register here.

    Thursday, August 26 at 1PM ET
    Lech Lecha: lessons learned, lessons brought forward, and things better left behind. Come for the learning and friends; stay for a back pocket teaching you can use throughout the ChaggimRegister 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. The learning schedule for Selihot Night Live is now available here. We also have a running list of Selihot services open to the public here. Join our list of sponsoring synagogues and organizations. Sponsors will be able to distribute Zoom links to their communities. Please click here to register.
  • ScholarStream 5782
    October 6th
    Following a successful launch of our ScholarStream program in 5781, we are excited to announce the full year of ScholarStream learning in 5782Beginning on October 6 and spanning all the way up to Shavuot, the Conservative Movement seminaries and institutions are partnering to offer eight series that will bring your community face-to-face with the brightest and most engaging scholars our movement has to offer. Learn more here.
  • 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:


Are you doing something great for the high holidays? Follow the link to share your plans.



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.