Leadership Connections #44: June 5, 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:


Becoming Rainbow Ready

Pride Month has already started! Here are some suggestions to help your synagogue, school, or organization be ready and welcoming to all.

Are you, your congregation, school, or organization still looking for resources for Pride Month, the annual celebration in June that honors the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan which has become a time to focus specifically on LGBTQ+ inclusion? Here is the helpful guide that was compiled by members of the LGBTQ+ Working Group of the Masorti/Conservative Movement’s Social Justice Commission for Pride 2023. You can also find resources on LGBTQ+ inclusion on USCJ’s site here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Juneteenth Resources
    Juneteenth is a new American holiday and a long-standing Texan AADOS (African-American Descendants of Slavery) commemorative holiday. Jewish AADOS have long incorporated their Jewish spiritual practices into celebrations of Juneteenth and other Emancipation Holidays, including variations of a Juneteenth Seder.

    USCJ affiliated congregations and beyond can gain valuable insights by engaging in the universal recognition of Juneteenth through a mutually supportive, in-group and ally-oriented, Torah-based day of learning.

    You can find Juneteenth resources provided by Gulienne Rollins-Rishon, USCJ’s Racial Justice Specialist, including webinars and a Haggadah, on USCJ’s Racial Justice and Inclusion resource page. View resources here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • Sulam* for Leaders: Off to a Great Start
    Calling all Presidents, Presidents Elect, Executive Vice Presidents and Executive Committee members, join us, as we begin to map out a plan for your leadership year.

    In these virtual workshops, we will explore how to create a shared vision for your leadership team, explore available USCJ tools and resources, and create board-improvement goals. We are offering multiple webinars, choose the one for your area, registrations are linked below.

    * The word Sulam, meaning ‘ladder,’ stems from the biblical story of Jacob’s ladder. It connotes the step-by-step progress that students achieve when given the opportunity and support to reach their goals.
    6/6 at 6 PM CT/7 PM ET Southeast Seaboard District – Led by Jo-Anne Tucker-Zemlak
    6/7 at 7 PM ET Mid-Atlantic District – Led by Linda Sussman
    6/8 at 7 PM ET Northeast District – Led by Miriam Abrams-Stark
    6/12 at 7 PM ET METNY District – Led by Linda Sussman
    6/21 at 6:30 PM PT/7:30 PM MT/8:30 PM CT PSWR and NPR Districts – Led by Rachel Sisk
    6/26 at 7 PM CT/8 PM ET Central District – Led by Mindy Gordon

    Learn more here.

  • Strengthen the Professional-Lay leadership Relationship
    During the month of June. Limited to the first 20 congregations that register.
    USCJ invites synagogue professionals and lay leadership to register for a two hour consultation on developing the lay and senior professional leadership relationship. These individualized workshops will take place in the month of June and will be facilitated by Daniel Langenthal. The consultation sessions are designed to help build new relationships and strengthen those that already exist. Register here.
  • NEW USCJ Digital Marketplace Vendor: My Tree in Israel
    Looking for a new and exciting way to fundraise at your synagogue and give back to Israel? My Tree in Israel connects synagogues with Israeli farmers to create unique and beautiful fundraising campaigns through the sale of olive oil and wine. Visit the USCJ Digital Marketplace to learn more and view the info session recording here.
  • Eit Ratzon Summer 2023
    Eit Ratzon is the RA’s summer professional development, geared to supporting Rabbis, encouraging collaboration with lay leadership, and beginning the New Year of 5784 from a place of strength. The following three sessions are open to Presidents/Success teams with Rabbis.

    Synagogue Rabbis & Presidents Together
    Tuesday, July 18th 3:30-5 PM ET
    How does a search committee become a success committee? Explore tools to introduce your new Rabbi to your synagogue community (and your synagogue community to your new Rabbi). We will also work together to communicate our work styles and feedback preferences in order to start our working relationship off right. Synagogue presidents/success teams are encouraged to join this session.

    Goals & Evaluation in a Synagogue Setting
    Wednesday, July 19th 3:30-5 PM ET
    Learn how to use the RA/USCJ Collaborative Goal-Setting & Evaluation handbook and get started setting your goals for the year. Presidents/success teams are encouraged to join this session.

    Sustained Together
    Wednesday, July 26th 12:30-2 PM ET
    Life-work harmony: it is a necessity for every rabbi and every lay leader. Let’s work together to craft a mutually agreed-upon success plan to care for each other in this holy work. Presidents/success teams are encouraged to join this session. Read more about all sessions being offered here. To ensure that a session is appropriate for you (or your team), please reach out to Rabbi Ilana Garber at [email protected]. More info and register here.

  • New Directors’ Institute 2023
    July 12,13,17 and 18
    This virtual professional development conference is for Education Directors who are new in their role or have been hired within the past 2 years.

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

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

  • Ma’alot Grant Program 2023-2024
    JNF/NBN has opened the 2023-2024 Ma’alot Grant Program, for Israel-focused programming taking place from 7/1/2023-6/30/2024. Updated guidelines can be found on the new application form linked here. Synagogues are highly encouraged to apply! Find the key points and additional guidance included in the application form. Read the application request letter here.
  • Brit Kodesh: Brit Milah Training for Healthcare Professionals
    Sunday-Thursday, November 12-16, 2023
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly announces that the next Brit Kodesh training for Conservative/Masorti mohalim/mohalot will be offered in Los Angeles from Sunday, November 12th through Thursday, November 16, 2023!

    We are currently accepting applications from prospective participants. We only accept applications from practicing physicians and healthcare professionals who have extensive training and experience performing circumcisions. All applications must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the referring rabbi, who is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly.

    Participants must commit to the entire in-person conference in Los Angeles beginning Sunday, November 12, 2023 at 2:00 PM PT through Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 4:00 PM PT. Register here.

    Please reach out to Rabbi Ilana Garber at [email protected] with questions.

This Month’s Synagogue Spotlight

Neve Shalom, Metuchen, NJ

At Neve Shalom in Metuchen, New Jersey, you can make your prayer shawl and other woven Judaica items, drawing on an ethos that the most meaningful religious pieces are created by family members and friends.

It opened its Sisterhood Loom Room in 2015, offering equipment and instructions for congregants and an increasing number of visitors who want to weave a custom tallit. The shawls, plus tallit bags, challah and matzah covers, frequently become gifts for bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and other joyous life cycle events.

Link to full article here.

Synagogue Spotlight

Share your stories, programs, and events:


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 by sharing a success. Please check back in this space next month for our next 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.

We’re Hiring!

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

  • Director of Marketing and Communications
  • Senior Director of Synagogue Leadership
  • USY Engagement Director – Seattle
  • Denver USY Engagement Director – part-time
  • Philadelphia USY City Director
  • Los Angeles USY City Director

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.