Leadership Connections #39: January 9, 2023

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

President’s Corner

Updates from our new USCJ International President


We Welcome Andy Schaer!

USCJ’s new International President, Andy Schaer was appointed at the December 2022 USCJ General Assembly and Board Meeting in Los Angeles, CA. He is excited to introduce himself. Read about his plans for USCJ and a brief introduction here.

Leadership Content

News, thought leadership articles, and past event information

Featured Article:

Announcing the NEW USCJ Digital Marketplace

We are pleased to announce the launch of the new USCJ Digital Marketplace. This new marketplace is in its infancy, we plan to add new vendors and listings every month. The marketplace is designed to become the one stop shop to find vendors connected to synagogue life.

In order to be listed vendors must pay a subscription fee. The vendors are not recommended by USCJ. Before purchasing goods, products or services from any vendor, it is important that each congregation or affiliate conduct its own due diligence, compare pricing, consult with its own professionals and consultants, and decide for itself whether dealing with the vendor is in the best interests of the congregation.

Please read our Terms and Conditions here. You can visit the site here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • December Virtual Conference Recording — We had over 350 synagogue leaders join our fall virtual conference where we led in depth conversations with the authors of “Creating Sacred Communities,” Dr. Ron Wolfson and Rabbi Brett Kopin. You can view the recording on our website here. You can still order the book here. USCJ synagogues are being offered a 20% discount on book purchases, with an additional discount for bulk quantities. Use code ‘USCJ’ for the discount. The code can be entered on the second page after you add the book to your cart.
  • NEW Safety and Security Resources on the USCJ Website — Your safety is our priority. In partnership with the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), and the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ), ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) has developed a practical toolkit for synagogues and congregations to prepare and respond to acts of antisemitism. Find all of the resources here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

Education Directors Webinar: Right-Placing Racial Justice & Diversity in Religious School
Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Join for an engaging, experiential learning-focused webinar that will build on your strengths, give you answers to some hard questions, and add to your educator toolbox. USCJ Racial Justice Specialist Gulienne Rollins-Rishon will answer questions about what Education Directors can do to incorporate racial diversity and racial justice in their Religious Schools. Register here.

Speaking is Leading
Thursday, January 12, 2023
Speaking effectively, whether it’s in a committee with six other people, or on the Bima in front of thousands, is a key to effective leadership. Come join our webinar with David Harrison, the current president of Beth El Congregation in Baltimore, and owner of a pubic relations consultancy, and learn key strategies to improve your presence and make sure your messages are well delivered and received. Register here.

USY Chapter Grants – Round Two
Deadline – January 17, 2023
We are excited to announce an opportunity for our USY chapters, the USY Chapter Grant. The local chapter is the foundation of USY. The Grant is meant to help with programming and hiring staff. The ultimate goal is to support the chapter in the ability to reach out to more teens and engage them. Apply here.

Making Amends to Interfaith Couples & Families: Healing Hearts & Inclusion
Thursday, January 19, 2023
USCJ synagogues aim to be warm and welcoming, however many couples and families carry pain and anger about their experiences in our congregations. With that, the intention behind our upcoming webinar, “Making Amends to Interfaith Couples and Families,” on January 19th is to surface ways of acknowledging the hurt felt by people who are intermarried in our communities and taking the necessary steps to draw interfaith couples and families closer to our stream of Judaism.

Please join Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, author, scholar, and Rabbinical Assembly member, in this webinar anchored by the principles of t’shuvah (repentance), which she explored deeply in her most recent book. Register here.

SCN: Surviving Hostage Situations
Thursday, January 19, 2023
One year after the hostage incident at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, join the Secure Community Network (SCN) to learn practical steps to take at the onset, duration, and resolution of a hostage situation. Panelists will include a hostage survivor and security professionals with backgrounds in crisis negotiations. Register here.

Sulam for Presidents
Thursday-Sunday, March 16-19, 2023
Join us for four hours each day from March 16-19th for Sulam for Presidents on Zoom. This is USCJ’s premier leadership development opportunity for newly elected presidents and those likely to become president in the next two years.

This three-day online training will include sessions on creating a shared vision, creating a more effective board, sound financial management, the lay-staff partnership, and member engagement, as well as sessions on managing conflict and building a more divers and inclusive community. Register here.

Sulam for Officers
Sunday-Monday, April 23-24, 2023
Join us for four hours each day from April 23-24th for Sulam for Officers on Zoom. The program will include sessions on identifying your leadership style, creating a leadership vision, the roles of the board and the executive committee, financial sustainability, and more. We will also be adding some new sessions this year, including a session on building more diverse and inclusive communities and a session on conflict management. Register here.

Interfaith Jewish Engagement: Diverse Approaches to Inclusive Communities
Tuesday, May 2 @1PM ET, or
Wednesday, May 3 @7:30 PM ET

USCJ’s Virtual Spring Leadership Conference will be this May. We’d love for you to join us!

Synagogue Spotlight

Share your stories, programs, and events:


At the request of the synagogues in our network we are starting an exciting new pilot program, Synagogue Spotlight. Each month we will feature one program, story, or event from one of our synagogues. This is an opportunity to highlight you and the amazing work you are doing. We want to maximize the power of our network, and give you the space to share your ideas, learn from each other, and be inspired. We hope you will participate. Please check back in this space next month for our first spotlight.

USCJ affiliated synagogues can submit information via this easy-to-use Google form, and email Rivka at [email protected] if you have any further questions.


One Question Survey

This edition’s featured question:


As the network of Conservative congregations across North America, we’ve designed these one-question polls to help you share information with one another. Each month’s question comes from inquiries that USCJ receives from synagogue leaders. This edition’s featured question:

In what area was your synagogue’s most successful program focused last year?



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.