Leadership Connections #22: September 3, 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




CJ High Holidays 


As our communities head into the High Holidays during a pandemic for the second time, we have brought together resources for the holidays from across the movement to inspire, innovate, and add to our celebrations. Visit the site and view the resources here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Welcome Back USCJ Re-affiliates
    We would like to take this opportunity to welcome back the following synagogues that re-affiliated with USCJ this year.

    • Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Louisville, KY
    • Tree Of Life Congregation *Or L’Simcha in Pittsburgh, PA
    • Congregation Agudas Achim in Bexley, OH

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Sacred Spaces Cohort

USCJ is very excited to announce that it has partnered with Sacred Spaces to provide ten congregations with an opportunity to participate in a one-year cohort focused on building and affirming a culture of safety and respect in their congregations. Synagogues will participate in teams of 3 to 5 people and participating congregations must be in good standing with USCJ in order to participate.

Applications will be available in early October with a cohort kickoff anticipated for January 2022. You can find more information about this exciting new program here read more here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • USCJ And ADL Form Partnership To Combat Antisemitism
    The United Synagogue Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) have agreed to form a partnership aimed at combating the alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence through education and advocacy. Read more here.
  • USCJ-Keshet Leadership Project
    Imagine that every person who walks into your synagogue feels valued for their whole self – including their gender and sexuality.

    If you’re ready to put your community’s inclusive values into action, join this year’s USCJ-Keshet Leadership Project. This year-long, cohort-based program equips synagogues with the skills and knowledge to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, create spaces in which LGBTQ Jews feel valued, and take action for LGBTQ rights.    The  year-long program includes:

    • Self-assessment: how is your organization doing at LGBTQ equity and belonging?
    • A day-long in-depth learning summit
    • Personalized coaching by experienced Keshet educators
    • Top-quality, comprehensive resources and guides
    • A supportive peer cohort of Jewish leaders working in their synagogues
    • An individual action plan for your congregation
    • Learning about the particulars of LGBTQ belonging in Conservative congregations.

    USCJ is proud to partner with Keshet to offer this program free of charge to participating synagogues. The USCJ-Keshet Leadership Project will take place in two online sessions on Wednesday, November 10th from 2:00-5:30pm ET and Wednesday, December 1st from 2:00-5:30pm ET. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis at bit.ly/keshetlp.  On the application, where it asks which cohort you are applying to, please be sure to select USCJ-KeshetLeadership Project. In order to be accepted to the cohort, congregations must be members in good standing of USCJ. For any questions about the Keshet Leadership Project, you can contact the Education & Training team by emailing Rabbi Micah Buck-Yael at [email protected]. Apply here.

  • The New Basics of Rabbinic Search
    Representatives from USCJ, the Rabbinical Assembly, and successful congregations shared insights and experiences about navigating the placement process. Watch the recording here and view presentation slides here.
  • RespectAbility Toolkit
    The disability nonprofit RespectAbility is pleased to announce the release of a new toolkit to help congregations ensure their High Holiday services and related events are accessible. The rise of the Delta variant and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic will cause many synagogues and communities of worship to move their services online. Some communities will aim to have a hybrid experience with an in-person component. Even as the Jewish world continues to determine how to create a meaningful, spiritual experience in each format, the experience must be accessible to all. More info here and toolkit here.
  • Don’t Kvetch, Organize!
    The JTS Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice, the RA, USCJ, and JOIN for Justice invite you to join a cohort of 30 Conservative movement lay leaders and clergy, in examining ways community organizing can be used to strengthen our communities, and create a more just world. The six-week course will run from October 5 – November 18. Learn more here and view the flyer here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • Seven Part Security Series with Secure Community Network
    Hosted by SCN and co-sponsored by USCJ and partners, we are providing this series for congregations as you prepare for High Holidays. Open to lay and professional leadership, with tips for virtual and in person. All will be recorded, register below.
  • 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.