Leadership Connections #45: July 3, 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:


USCJ Resource: Board Orientation Leadership Bite


We know that many boards are turning over this time of year. New presidents and executive directors can find a short, 20 minute video here about onboarding and orientations. Want a more involved workshop? Contact your synagogue consultant to discuss.Additional Leadership Content:

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • ADL’s Kulanu Program Cohort
    Deadline: August 15
    ADL, a partner of USCJ, has opened registration for the 5784 cohort of Kulanu, ADL’s no-cost, national synagogue engagement program. This self-paced, customizable program empowers congregations to address antisemitism and hate in their communities through community
    engagement, advocacy and education. Kicking off after the High Holidays, Kulanu congregations’ leaders (lay, clergy and/or staff) receive exclusive access to ADL resources, content, experts, briefings, and program materials, as well as an inspiration library and a network of congregational peers across North America to expand your engagement ideas and learning. The deadline has been extended to August 15, 2023, so encourage your congregation to apply now. Reach out to ADL staff with any questions at [email protected]. Learn more about Kulanu and find the application here.
  • RootOne Teen Israel Trip Funding RootOne Teen Israel Trip Funding Opportunity
    Join our Info Session on July 18th at 12:30 PM ET. Register here.
    Sustain the pipeline and build our future by sending teens to Israel! RootOne funding – a voucher for $3000! – is available to your community’s teens for summer trips to Israel. This new incentive starts as early as the B*Mitzvah, and it will encourage families to maintain synagogue membership while committing to their children’s Jewish futures. It’s WIN/WIN/WIN and we want YOUR SYNAGOGUE to be part of it! When the congregation’s leadership is ready to get the process started, please visit the B*Mitzvah Israel Summer Travel page to register your community. Please be in touch with questions, comments, or suggestions to [email protected].

    We’re looking forward to your partnership – thank you for helping us make this program a success!

  • 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.

  • 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.

This Month’s Synagogue Spotlight

Shearith Israel, Atlanta GA
Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin TX
Beth Jacob Congregation, Mendota Heights MN

This month’s synagogue spotlight we are featuring three USCJ affiliated synagogues that were chosen to receive a Scientists in Synagogues programming grant for the 2023-2024 year. The three listed above were among only 15 communities that were chosen across the United States.

This is the second time that Shearith Israel in Atlanta, GA received this grant. Their program launched with the recent AI and Torah-themed Shavuot Night of Learning. We are so proud and excited for these grant recipients.

You can view the announcement on the Sinai and Synapses website 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
  • Los Angeles USY City Director
  • Interim Development Consultant

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.