Leadership Connections #41: March 8, 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:

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal’s Purim Greeting

We hope you had a Chag Purim Sameach! We bring you a greeting from USCJ and Rabbinical Assembly CEO, Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal on this festive week. Watch it here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Jewish Network Organizations Opportunities — USCJ has compiled a list of Jewish Network Organization opportunities. These are organizations who provide services to the Conservative movement. Our network is doing amazing things and we want to keep you informed. Check back here periodically to see what is happening. Learn more here.
  • Exploring Judaism: Torah Resources and More — ExploringJudaism’s Passover page features a wide variety of articles worth sharing with your community about the holiday’s traditions, customs, and observances for seder. Sign up for updates on new and timely content, here. Visit the site.
  • 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.
  • Nativ 2023-24 — Limited spots remain on the Nativ College Leadership Program. Spend a year developing your leadership skills while living like a local in Israeli society! www.NATIV.org/apply.
  • USY Alumni: Double Chai Honors — Our young USY alumni are the future of Jewish life and learning. The USY Alumni Double Chai Honors seeks to recognize 36 of our young USY alumni professionals (age 36 or under). These individuals were involved with USY after high school or, because of their USY experience, went on to work in the Jewish community at large.

    Alumni can apply themselves or be nominated. If you know any dedicated USY alumni who meet the criteria, please consider nominating them! For more information, criteria, and application go to usy.org/alumnidoublechai. Learn more and apply here.

  • 2023 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Launch — Linked below please find an overview document pertaining to DHS/FEMA’s launch of the FY 2023 NSGP grant program.

    FEMA has kept to its target date, and already has posted a number of application tools and will soon host a webinar focused on the FY 2023 funding opportunity.

    It is imperative that applicants get in touch with their State Administrative Agencies as soon as possible and follow their application instructions going forward.

    Please read the linked document to get oriented. More resources can be found on the SCN website here. Learn more here.

  • Racial Justice and Inclusion in Conservative Synagogues: 101 and February in Review — View Recording.

    In this 75 minute webinar to close out Black History Month, USCJ’s Racial Justice Specialist Gulienne Rollins-Rishon led 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 shared 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. View more resources on our website here. View recording here.

  • The Buying Networks — The Buying Networks and The Buying Networks Canada work with faith-based organizations – at no charge – to help reduce expenses by 10-30% or more on products and services that you use every day. We leverage preferred pricing with over 80 US and Canadian distributors, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and vendors for everything from food, office supplies, cleaning supplies and kitchen equipment, to facilities services, utilities, merchant services, and much more. There’s no fee, no risk, and no obligation when you work with The Buying Networks and The Buying Networks Canada. With prices soaring these days, you probably have a few purchasing “pain points”, and we can help!

    Contact [email protected] or [email protected], or call 1 888 403 2833, x5 to start saving more!

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • ScholarStream Series #6
    Starting Today: Wednesday, March 8, 2023
    The Conservative Movement seminaries and institutions are partnering to offer regular learning series that will bring your community face-to-face with the brightest and most engaging scholars our movement has to offer.

    Our series on Living our Values: Social Justice and Social Action will begin on Wednesday, March 8th at 8:00 PM ET. Please register to make sure you receive the Zoom link for Session 1. Register here and find more information on the session here.

  • Security Training Series Presented by (SCN)
    This security series is designed for lay leaders and professional staff of synagogues.

    See remaining two scheduled webinars below:

    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.

  • 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.
  • Protecting The Environment For Ourselves And Future Generations
    Monday, April 10, 2023
    USCJ and Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex (NJ) have joined the new Jewish Climate Leadership Coalition, and you are invited to learn more about this on a Zoom program on Monday, April 10, at 8 p.m. Register and be inspired by Jakir Manela, visionary founder of this new North American Jewish Leadership Coalition to learn how we now will be able to confront the moral urgency of the climate crisis, jointly committing to climate action. View flyer 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 clergy only (except with prior permission) 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.

  • Ma’alot Grant Program 2023-2024
    We are announcing the 2023-2024 JNF / NBN Ma’alot Grant Program, for programs commencing 7/1/2023 and ending by 6/30/2024. The committee developed new, and we believe clearer guidelines, based upon applications received in the past. They can be found on the revised application form linked here. We urge you to read what content is expected. Some of the key points and additional guidance is included in the application form. Read the application request letter here. Learn more and apply here.

This Week’s Synagogue Spotlight

Temple of Aaron
St. Paul, MN

Temple of Aaron, a Conservative congregation of about 700 families, invited families to bundle up and have fun on what Rabbi Rubenstein believed was the first-ever skating rink on a synagogue property for a klezmer festival. The rink, can accommodate about 30 people at a time, and was built by congregant Joel Paper and was being maintained by “Ice Captains” — synagogue members who cleared it of snow and shoveled off any extra ice that formed.

Skaters at the rink heard the kickoff performance of the klezmer festival, featuring Jewbalaya, a hybrid klezmer and New Orleans jazz band in which Rubenstein plays the trumpet.

Read more about this exciting event her.

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. Share here.

Survey Results


Last month we asked:

Does your synagogue have a garden project?

The majority of you said you do not. If you’d like to start one you can find resources on Adamah’s website.

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:

Did your synagogue hold a Purim carnival this year?

Answer here

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
  • Administrative Assistant – TED/USY

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.