Leadership Connections #21: August 26, 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




Livestream Learnings 


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. Watch the recording here and view the presentation slides here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • NAASE High Holidays Update Survey
    The High Holiday survey conducted by NAASE, had 116 respondents, we are sharing these results as you continue to plan for the High Holidays. Read results here.
  • 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:

Imun 2021

Imun 2021 was a great success. It was 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. Watch our closing video here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Adas Israel Letter in Support of Uyghurs
    The Adas Israel Social Action Committee is coordinating an open letter to the Biden Administration from synagogues, rabbis, and other leaders of Jewish religious institutions and community organizations. Our intent is to make a public, moral statement from the Jewish community in all its diversity by bringing together a broad tent of Jewish voices. Read more here.
  • CA Initiative with TropTrainer
    The Cantors Assembly is proud to partner with Hazzan Solutions to bring you what will soon be, quite simply, the best cantillation training anywhere on the Internet, maybe even on the planet, and we want to make sure as many people have access to it as possible. Get promo code and learn more by clicking here.
  • You Are Your Synagogue’s Treasurer or Financial Officer, Now What?
    Barry Mael, USCJ’s Senior Director of Synagogue Affiliations and Operations, led a webinar orientation to welcome synagogue treasurers and financial officers. Watch the recording here and view presentation slides here.
  • USY’s JOCISM Cohort
    USY, with support from the JTS Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice, is launching a cohort for Jewish of Color, Indigenous Jewish, Mizrahim, and Sephardim. The idea is to create a virtual national space to develop their leadership and hopefully have the larger community of USY reflect the diversity of the Jewish community. There will be pilot groups of 6th-12th grade USYers. More info 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 the joint RA and USCJ 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 the list of sponsoring synagogues and organizations. Sponsors will be able to distribute Zoom links to their communities. Please click here to register.
  • The New Basics of Rabbinic Search
    Monday, August 30th at 8:00PM ET
    Representatives from USCJ, the Rabbinical Assembly, and successful congregations will share insights and experiences about navigating the placement process. Register here.
  • ScholarStream 5782
    Wednesday, 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. Become a sponsor and 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:


Do you want to order USCJ’s 5782 Calendar? They are out and ready to ship 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.