Leadership Connections #47: September 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:


Speaking is Leading: Advice for the Yom Kippur Congregational Address


David Harrison, Immediate Past President of Beth El Congregation, in Baltimore, MD and president of Harrison Communications, a marketing and public relations agency, shares his tips on making a Yom Kippur congregational address. Read more by clicking below. Read the full blog post about the visit by clicking here.

  • Pre and Post High Holiday Task Check Lists
    The High Holidays are just around the corner. We are pleased to share with you the Pre Holiday Task Check List and Post Holiday Task Check List that were developed by Barry Mael, USCJ Sr. Director of Synagogue Affiliations and Operations.
  • Creating Sacred Safe Spaces Fosters Belonging
    Schools are back in session. Rabbi Robin Foonberg, Executive Director of the Jewish Educators Assembly and the Education Specialist for USCJ, writes about how to foster a sense of belonging to the Jewish people in our Hebrew Schools. Read more by clicking here.
  • Interfaith Inclusion in our Movement
    Intermarriage, and inclusion of intermarried couples and families, has been an important issue for our movement for decades. There are countless opportunities to engage individuals, couples, and families in the beauty and meaning of Jewish community and practice. Click here to read more about what has been done to date and access resources for your community.
  • Conservative/Masorti Shabbaton & Convening this December!
    We are now just over three months away from the Conservative/Masorti Shabbaton & Convening and we are thrilled to share new details of our ever-developing program! Click below to learn about concerts, live shows, and over 60 workshops designed to empower and inspire.

    Register now, as the early bird pricing deadline has been extended to September 20! We will continue to share more details as they become available.

  • Featured USCJ Digital Marketplace Vendor: Sofer On Site
    Our featured vendor this month is Sofer On Site International. As their name suggests, they are always local and On-Site. They pride themselves on traveling, visiting synagogues, and caring for Torahs wherever they may be. They can evaluate your Torahs, prepare insurance appraisals, and complete restoration at the same time On Site while you wait.

    They are now offering USCJ member synagogues a $1,000 coupon off any purchase of a New or pre-owned Torah. Valid until October 20. Learn more on USCJ’s Digital Marketplace.

  • ExploringJudaism: New for the High Holidays
    ExploringJudaism.org is excited to share new Torah on a regular basis. Make sure to check your Exploring Judaism emails. With the month of Elul, we will be sharing high holiday materials, including new videos and a new High Holiday Season Movie Guide with suggestions for families and texts to explore.
  • USY is Getting Ready for Summer 2024!
    Be the first to know! Registration for USY Summer 2024 programs is just around the corner. Click here to be the first to find out when registration opens. Last summer many of our trips sold out- space is limited.
  • USY Listening USY Listening Forums – New Dates! – New Dates! 
    USY now has more dates for their listening forums. After an initial first round we have five more opportunities for you or someone you know to join in on the conversation. Click here to read the full email and find a list of upcoming forums and links to where you can RSVP for them.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • Order Print & Digital Mahzorim for High Holidays
    Deadline Today: September 6

    Print orders must be placed before September 6th to arrive before Rosh Hashanah with standard shipping, in the United States.

    Sign up by September 13th to receive the digital Mahzor Lev Shalem (purchase or lease) in time for Rosh Hashanah. View licensing options on the order form by clicking below.ngining

  • Announcing New Program Google Group
    Do you feel like you are constantly looking for new programs and ways to engage your congregants? Scouring the internet…constantly chatting with programming professionals and chairs and feel like you are recycling your old programs? Well, so do we! As the saying goes…Work Smarter, Not Harder! Let’s partner together and gather our best resources and collaborate!

    NAASE & USCJ are partnering and creating a Google Group for professionals and lay leaders to come together and create a space to share program ideas and be creative together. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. The goal of this group is to create a forum for exchanging program and event ideas, sharing best practices, problem solving, and the ability to ask timely questions peer to peer.

    Please click here and register to be part of this groundbreaking group. Great things are going to happen in this space and we know you won’t want to miss out! We are setting a Go Live date of Wednesday September 6th. Please fill in the form to be registered for the group. The group registration will not close, you can register at any time.

  • SCN High Holiday Webinar Series
    The Secure Community Network (SCN), the network of Jewish communal security professionals, national security experts, and religious leaders are hosting a series of conversations to aid preparedness for the High Holiday season. To attend or view recordings of past sessions, please click here:

    Remaining Session:

    Sep 7, 2023 02:00 PM Eastern Time
    Committing to Action: A Training on Situational Awareness and Countering Active Threats

  • ADL’s Kulanu Program Cohort
    Deadline: September 8
    ADL, a partner of USCJ, has opened registration for the 5784 cohort of Kulanu, ADL’s no-cost, national synagogue engagement program. 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 September 8, 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.
  • Operation Isaiah at Operation Isaiah at Your Synagogue Synagogue
    This High Holiday season, we ask for your leadership in a community-wide effort (led by the Food Justice Subcommittee of the Social Justice Commission of the Conservative Masorti/Movement) to collect non-perishables and transmit them to your local food pantries or expand your current efforts. A toolkit with examples of how to implement this project at your synagogue is included here.
    Contact Jacki Honig with any questions.
  • Sulam for Officers
    Sunday & Monday, November 5 and 6
    11 am ET|10 am CT|9 am MT|8 am PT

    The virtual 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 & inclusive communities and a session on conflict management. Space for this program will be limited. Register here.
  • Kol Tefilla
    January 19-21, 2024
    Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles, CA

    Save the date for Kol Tefilla at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California! Sign up to be notified when registration opens by clicking here.
  • Fighting Antisemitism Today: Exclusive Tools and Resources to Empower Synagogues

    View Recording

    Learn alongside other USCJ congregations how to empower your congregation to address antisemitism and hate with contemporary tools and resources available all year in partnership with the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) and Anti-Defamation League (ADL). This session — featuring Matthew Berger, Senior Advisor for FCAS, and Rebecca Weisman, Director of Jewish Outreach Programs at ADL — is appropriate for clergy, professional staff, or lay leaders. View recording by clicking here.

  • RootOne Teen Israel Trip Funding Opportunity
    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.

    We are excited to announce that over 200 colleagues from the USA & Canada have signed their communities up to participate in RootOne’s $3000 Vouchers for Teen Summer Israel Travel. Join the 200 communities helping their b’nai mitzvah students get to Israel! Learn more by clicking here.


Congregation Kol Emeth, Palo Alto, CA


Larry Sokoloff, a congregant of Congregation Kol Emeth since 2007, brought his grandfather Emanuel Sokoloff’s (Poppy’s) Torah to his family’s congregation this April. The Torah is now in a place where Emanuel’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren can hear its words. Read the full story by clicking here.

Want to be featured? Click here to nominate your community.

We’re Hiring!

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

  • Los Angeles USY City Director
  • HR Assistant

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.