Leadership Connections #40: February 6, 2023

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

Leadership Content

News, thought leadership articles, and past event information

Featured Article:

Sulam for Presidents

This March, USCJ will be hosting our virtual Sulam for Presidents. This is USCJ’s leadership training program for newly elected presidents and those likely to become president in the next two years. For more information click here. Register here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Join the Jewish Climate Coalition — USCJ is a proud founding partner of the Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition. Along with twenty other major umbrella Jewish organizations, USCJ has signed a founding statement and committed resources and time developing organizational climate action plans.

    Every Conservative synagogue is invited to join the Coalition and begin the process of crafting your own climate action plan. You can read more about it here. Learn more here.

  • NEW: Fundraising Resources on USCJ Website — USCJ has compiled a list of resources for grant writing and other funding sources, which can be accessed on our website here. These tools will provide our synagogues and their leadership with new funding avenues and opportunities.
  • New: Racial Justice and Inclusion Resources — USCJ is pleased to launch our Racial Justice and Inclusion page on our website. This dynamic page provides an introduction to tools for Racial Justice orientation curated by our Racial Justice Specialist, Gulienne Rollins-Rishon. It also provides an avenue for our synagogue leadership to strengthen their JOCISM (Jews of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, Mizrahi) inclusion efforts and capacity. Jews of Color and their families also can complete a form to opt into notifications or leadership opportunities in USCJ sponsored affinity spaces. View the resources here.
  • New: Interfaith Inclusion Resources — USCJ will be sharing resources for synagogue leaders over the next few months to support congregations’ efforts with interfaith inclusion. We hope these resources will better enable all USCJ congregations to foster spaces where all members, prospective members, and their families feel a sense of connection and belonging. Visit our inclusion page here for additional resources.

    Contact [email protected] with any questions and to schedule a consultation.

  • USY Chapter Grants — USY awarded Chapter Grants to 13 chapters, out of the initial application pool of 32 in the first round. Second round awardees were notified on February 1st, and again 13 chapters received grants. Read about the process and the list of awardees. Learn more and apply here.
  • Keshet Cohort Opportunity Exclusively for USCJ Affiliated Synagogues — All too often, LGBTQ+ members of our congregations face barriers or are unintentionally excluded in our programming and planning. We all want our Jewish communities to be places of belonging, which is why Keshet, in partnership with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), is launching the Shivyon Project cohort for USCJ-affiliated synagogues! When your synagogue signs up for the Shivyon Project cohort you gain access to in-depth education, practical training, coaching, skills, and knowledge to spark long-lasting changes. Learn more here and apply by clicking here.
  • Exploring Judaism: Torah Resources and More — You can easily access Torah commentaries, study guides and more on the weekly Torah portion on ExploringJudaism.org, the digital home for Conservative Judaism. This site also features a wide range of topics and creators. You can view Tu Bishvat content here. Sign up for updates on new and timely content, here.
  • USY Summer Programs — Spaces are filling up quickly on our summer programs. Be sure your teens are able to grab their spot before the trips close. Scholarships are available. Learn more at usy.org/summer.
  • USY Alumni Alumnets — Microgrants are available to run your own AlumNet, a USY alumni affinity group! Help enhance our alumni network by running an AlumNet One-Shot (a one-time event) or an AlumNet Series (3 events) with at least 5 other USY alumni. Click HERE for details and to apply to be an AlumNet captain. For more information, contact Joyce Juda, USY Alumni Director, at [email protected].
  • Speaking is Leading — RECORDING AVAILABLE
    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. We conducted a webinar with David Harrison, the current president of Beth El Congregation in Baltimore, and owner of a pubic relations consultancy. View the recording to learn key strategies for improving your presence and making sure your messages are well delivered and received. View recording here.
  • Making Amends to Interfaith Couples & Families: Healing Hearts & Inclusion — RECORDING AVAILABLE
    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 past webinar, “Making Amends to Interfaith Couples and Families,” was 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.
    View the recording to watch 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. View recording here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • SCN: Threats & Risks Under the NSGP
    Thursday, February 9, 2023
    Join the Secure Community Network (SCN) and expert panelists, including from ADL, to discuss current threats and risks to the Jewish community as they relate to the NSGP grant application process. Register here.
  • ScholarStream Series #5
    Deadline: Monday, February 14, 2023
    Our series on Halakha – The Process Moving Forward & the Forward-Moving Process will begin on Wednesday, February 16th at 8:00 PM ET. Please register by 5:00 PM ET on Monday, February 14th to make sure you receive the Zoom link for Session 1. Register here.
  • USY Chapter Grants – Round Three
    Deadline – February 15, 2023
    We are excited to announce a final 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.
  • Four-Part Security Training Series Presented by (SCN)
    This four-part security series is designed for lay leaders and professional staff of synagogues.

    See full schedule below:

    February 21, 2023 (90 Minutes)
    11:00 AM PT | 12:00 PM MT | 1:00 PM CT | 2:00 PM ET

    February 28, 2023 (90 Minutes)
    11:00 AM PT | 12:00 PM MT | 1:00 PM CT | 2:00 PM ET

    March 9, 2023 (90 Minutes)
    10:00 AM PT | 11:00 PM MT | 12:00 PM CT | 1:00 PM ET

    March 16, 2023 (60 Minutes)
    10:00 AM PT | 11:00 PM MT | 12:00 PM CT | 1:00 PM ET
    View the flyer here.

  • Racial Justice and Inclusion in Conservative Synagogues: 101 and February in Review
    Monday, February 27, 2023

    In this 75 minute webinar to close out Black History Month, USCJ’s Racial Justice Specialist Gulienne Rollins-Rishon will lead an exploration of these questions:

    – What do the pillars we choose mean for our synagogue’s interactions with racial justice, both internally and outward-facing?

    – How can we begin or engage more deeply in uncomfortable conversations as we discuss racial inclusion and racial justice in Conservative synagogues?

    Synagogue leaders can share concerns, successes, and questions in breakout groups about the overlap and diversion points of JOCISM (Jew of Color, Indigenous, Sephardi, Mizrahi) inclusion and racial justice efforts in greater society. The webinar will close with an opportunity to present and discuss a case study of attendees’ programs run for Black History Month.

  • Jewish Digital Summit
    February 28 – March 2, 2023
    70 Faces Media will be hosting a three-day Jewish Digital Summit on February 28-March 2, 2023. This fully virtual event is designed for Jewish professionals, lay leaders and anyone with a professional or personal interest in engaging Jews online. Get hands-on digital training and industry insights at the first-ever Jewish Digital Summit.

    As a partner, USCJ members receive a 50% discount for enrollment. Simply use promo code “USCJ” to receive your discount for the digital conference.

    Learn more at www.jewishdigitalsummit.org.

  • SCN: FEMA NSGP Guidance
    Thursday, March 9, 2023
    Join the Secure Community Network and its panels of security and grants specialists for guidance on how to navigate the full life cycle of the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, from preparation to implementation. 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!
  • Rav Ha Makhshir
    Sunday – Thursday, June 11-15, 2023
    Teaneck New Jersey
    This 5-day in-person course for Rabbis only will provide text study and exploration of the theoretical constructs of kashrut, as well as on-site field trips. Participants will learn how to supervise synagogue kitchens, communal events, bakeries and various kinds of restaurants. Click link below to register and learn more.

    Registration Deadline: April 3 
    Register here.

  • USCJ Conference for NEW Education Directors and Early Childhood Directors
    SAVE THE DATES: July 12,13,17 and 18
    This conference is for Education Directors who are new in their roles or have been hired within the past 2 years.

    Save the date for learning with leading Jewish educators, become a member of a learning community, meet colleagues who can help support you, and develop practical skills to succeed.

    More information to follow.

    Questions? Please contact Miriam Abrams-Stark, USCJ Synagogue Consultant [email protected]

  • A Conservative/ Masorti Gathering
    SAVE THE DATES: Friday – Tuesday, December 1-5, 2023
    Save the Date for our 2023 Conservative Movement / T’nuah HaMasortit Gathering!

    Building our Movement Together | T’nuah B’yahad

    Join together with Conservative/Masorti cantors, chaplains, educators, lay leaders, synagogue members, rabbis, teens, young adults and more at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront this December! Many more details will be forthcoming, including pricing, registration, program information, and a request for proposals to lead a session. For now, please complete this short interest form to let us know if you are planning to come and how you’d like to get involved.

This Week’s Synagogue Spotlight

Adath Israel Congregation
Lawrenceville, NJ

On Friday, December 2, 2022, Adath continued its celebration of 100 years with a centennial instrumental Shabbat evening service focused on their history from the 1920s and 1930s. They had about 70 participants. At this instrumental service they incorporated music from those decades. They also explored what was happening in the synagogue and the Jewish world at that time. Afterwards, the oneg featured some treats from the era.

Read more about their history and the event below. This was the submission from last month.


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.


Survey Results


Last month we asked:

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

The majority of you said your most successful programs were focused on socializing.

Thanks for responding!

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 honor of Tu Bishvat, we’re asking, does your synagogue have a garden project?


We’re Hiring!

Come join our team! We’re hiring the following positions.

  • Senior Director of Synagogue Leadership
  • Mid-Atlantic District Synagogue Consultant
  • CHUSY City and Engagement Director
  • USY Engagement Director – Seattle

Click the link here to view all of our open positions. Please share with anyone you think would be interested.


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.