Leadership Connections #25: November 1, 2021

Welcome to Leadership Connections, a monthly publication for synagogue leaders and clergy from USCJ.

The New Normal

Resources for synagogue leaders in the time of Covid




Relational Congregations: Strengthening Connections in Changing Times


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 here.

Additional New Normal Content:

  • 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. Watch a conversation with three ADL experts discussing the state of antisemitism in the United States, as well as best practices for addressing this hate. View recording here.
  • ADL’s Never is Now
    Attend ADL’s Never Is Now: The World’s Largest Annual Summit on Antisemitism and Hate to listen, to learn and to take action. Join us as we gather virtually with thousands of experts, students, community leaders and more to tackle crucial conversations about hate and bigotry in today’s world. The Summit is being held virtually, Sunday-Tuesday, November 7-9, 2021 and there is no cost to attend. There will be a special track for high school students, and attorneys can earn free CLE credits. Sign up here!

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

USCJ Staffing Survey 2021 Report

Read USCJ’s latest synagogue staffing survey. As we are moving towards a return to our buildings and with some new sense of “normalcy” we surveyed our current leadership to find out more about synagogue staffing in 2021. Read the results here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Financial Reporting for Your Synagogue
    This presentation given by David Beyth and John Grippo of Kesef Accounting focused on what financial reporting should be done and shared with your leadership and how often. We looked at monthly operating reports as well as fund reporting. Moderated by Barry Mael, USCJ Senior Director of Synagogue Affiliations & Operations. Watch the recording here, and view the slides here. We’ve also included a sample first report, and a sample restricted fund report.
  • 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.
  • Intergenerational Torah Reading Cohort
    Gideon Paull, member of Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge, CA shares how his congregation has worked to teach members of all ages how to chant Torah. Read more here.
  • Musical Midrash
    Mark Sherman of the Musical Midrash Project is putting together a series of free, live concert events for 18 communities over the course of the 5782 Torah reading cycle. The songs, in Hebrew and English, provide an innovative way to deepen connection to our text and tradition. For more information on including your community in the tour see the flyer here.
  • Rabbinical Assembly Publishes Names of those Expelled or Suspended for Code of Conduct Violations
    The Rabbinical Assembly is undertaking an extensive review and update to its Code of Professional Conduct, as well as the procedures by which the Code is enforced. As the next step in this ongoing review of how the RA handles complaints and allegations of misconduct against its rabbis, the RA has posted the names of expelled and suspended colleagues on the public facing website of the Rabbinical Assembly. Previously, notifications of expulsions and suspensions were publicized through the RA’s Newsletter and through direct communication with partner organizations. Read the full press release 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. Read a testimonial 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.
  • Hanukkah Homecoming: Save the Date!
    December 3-5, 2021

    A growing coalition of congregations, JCCs, Federations, schools, camps, independent minyanim and Jewish organizations is coming together for a worldwide rededication of our relational communities during the final days of Hanukkah. You are invited to join hundreds of organizations to spotlight the value offer of being in a relational community and celebrating the holiday together either onsite or online during the “Hanukkah Homecoming Weekend,” December 3-5, 2021. 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.