Leadership Connections #24: October 7, 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




The State of Antisemitism in the US and How We Can Respond Effectively


Manifestations of antisemitism have risen markedly in recent years and antisemitism has morphed with the times as it always does. Join us for a conversation with three ADL experts to discuss the state of antisemitism in the United States, as well as best practices for addressing this hate. Register here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • Power, Powerlessness, and Sukkot in ‘Borgen’
    Stephen Arnoff, CEO of Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center, explores how Birgitte Nyborg, the fictional Danish Prime Minister on ‘Borgen,’ teaches a powerful, personal, resonant message for Sukkot and the end of the holiday cycle that begins the Jewish year. Read more here.
  • Relational Congregations Conferences
    Are you looking to build and strengthen relationships within your community as we begin to come back together? Learn about creating personal encounters, reimagining volunteerism and building on your virtual successes. Hear from leaders who are doing great relational work and gain tools and resources to bring back to your synagogue. Open to all USCJ affiliated synagogue staff, lay leaders, and clergy. Register for one of these three times by clicking below:

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

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.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Financial Reporting for Your Synagogue
    This presentation given by David Beyth and John Grippo of Kesef Accounting will focus on what financial reporting should be done and shared with your leadership and how often. We will look at monthly operating reports as well as fund reporting. Moderated by Barry Mael, USCJ Senior Director of Synagogue Affiliations & Operations. Register here.
  • 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 are being accepted now with the cohort kickoff anticipated for January 2022. You can find more information about this exciting new program here and read more here. You can apply here.
  • An Update from USCJ’s CEO, Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal
    Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, USCJ and RA CEO, reports on how USCJ is investing in mental health now and beyond the pandemic. Read more here.
  • USY Launches a Cohort for Young Jews of Color
    Hear from Rabbi Josh Rabin, Senior Director of USY, about USY’s newest initiative, their JOCISM Cohort. The first cohort will launch this fall with over 30 participants from the United States and Canada. The cohort will be led by Rafi Forbush, the youth director of Beth Jacob Congregation in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, and would not be possible without support from USY’s Racial Justice Committee, Rabbi Stephanie Ruskay, and the Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Read more 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

  • ScholarStream 5782
    Starting 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.
  • Race-Consciousness Training Series
    Wednesdays, October 20- November 10 8PM ET
    Join Heather Miller, President of Flatbush and Shaare Torah Jewish Center and Eitan Dantzig, Board Member and Co-Facilitator of FJC’s anti-racism work, for a 4-part series on race consciousness for Conservative synagogue communities. Heath and Eitan are creators of The Multitudes, workshops designed to lead to the creation of safe and embracing spaces for Jews of Color. Series is open to clergy, professional staff, and lay-leaders. Learn more and register 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:


We want to hear from you so that we can tailor future content, events, and resources to exactly what you need.

This edition’s featured question:

Do you have a program of general interest that is free and available for anyone to join? Are you interested in advertising your program through USCJ’s channels? Please let us know.



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.