Leadership Connections #48: October 2, 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:


Bringing the post-High Holiday Energy Forward into the New Year


Congratulations, you completed the High Holidays! Now take a look at some suggestions from Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, USCJ Chief Program Officer, for how to keep that High Holiday energy throughout the New Year. Read the full blog post by clicking here.

  • Member Spotlight: Beth Israel Center, Madison, WI – The Shul That Stopped Landfilling Disposables
    At Beth Israel Center in Madison, Wisconsin, they are a community of volunteers. Their medium size shul of 275 families does virtually everything with volunteers, including their weekly Shabbat kiddush lunch. They used to eat everything using disposable plates, cups, and flatware. Not anymore. Read the full blog post to learn how they did it and the response it’s getting. Read the full blog post by clicking here.
  • Post High Holiday Task Check List
    Now that the High Holidays have passed, we would like to share with you the Post Holiday Task Check List that was developed by Barry Mael, USCJ Sr. Director of Synagogue Affiliations and Operations.
  • Conservative/Masorti Shabbaton & Convening this December!
    We are thrilled to announce that Krista Tippett of On Being will be our keynote speaker at our Conservative/Masorti Convening.FREE Registration for Your 6th One! We’re offering an exciting promotion, if you buy 5 registrations, you get the 6th one FREE! Here’s how it works: When five people from the same synagogue sign up at the non-subsidized rate*, you get a 6th registration for free. If you send 10, you get two free. When 5 people sign up, contact your Synagogue Consultant and they will send you a code for one free registration.
    *This can’t be at the subsidized rate, or the day rate.
  • Really Great Reasons to Attend Shabbaton
    There are three different ways to attend our Convening Shabbaton this December. Read this blog to find out more and see how you can attend using General admission, the Young Adult opportunity or even as a USYer. Learn more here.
  • USCJ’s New Interfaith Inclusion Guide
    As human beings, one of our greatest needs is connection to other human beings. Fortunately, our tradition has many built-in mechanisms for encouraging us to gather, pray, learn, celebrate, mourn, and eat together. Sometimes, though, we all need a little help finding our way outside our immediate comfort zone to inviting people into our inner most circles. Please download USCJ’s new Interfaith Inclusion Guide to start conversations in your community. Download guide here.
  • Featured USCJ Digital Marketplace Vendor: Jim Cohen, Judaic Silversmith
    Our featured vendor this month is Jim Cohen. He is an academically trained silversmith with a MFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Since leaving his University he has specialized in Judaica and exhibited across the United States and in Canada. His work is known for its design elements and its occasional social commentary.Visit his booth at the Conservative/Masorti Convening Exhibitor Village this December.

    Learn more on USCJ’s Digital Marketplace.

  • ExploringJudaism: Have a Magnet – On Us!
    ExploringJudaism.org had a great Yamim Noraim. We reached thousands of people with our video and written content. Our magnet and calendar are a huge hit – if you didn’t get yours or need more, please sign up below. Please note we are only able to send these to people in the United States at this time. Sign up here.
  • 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 Forums – 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.
  • Pricing Update from RA Publications
    Per earlier announcements to customers and colleagues, the RA will have a price adjustment of 15% on all products. This is the first change in more than five years. Please order before October 15th to benefit from current pricing. Order here.
  • Donate to USY Alumni and Double Your Impact!
    USY Alumni has received a $50,000 matching gift challenge. If you donate to USY Alumni before the end of the month of Tishrei (October 15th) your donation will have the impact of double the amount! Funds will help provide scholarship aid to our young adults, our leaders of tomorrow, to attend the Young Adult Shabbaton and to help us provide impactful experiences.
    If you have any questions about this fundraising campaign, the Young Adult Shabbaton, or about USY Alumni in general, please reach out to Joyce Juda at [email protected]. Donate here.
  • Thank You To Our USY on Wheels Host Synagogues
    We’d like to extend a heartfelt todah rabbah to all of the congregations who hosted a USY on Wheels bus this summer! Whether it was for a meal, tefillah, or an evening program, it is always incredibly special for our Wheelniks to get to experience what Conservative Judaism looks like all across North America. Thank you to the following synagogues for taking part in hosting during USY Summer 2023:Congregation Shaarey Zedek – Southfield, MI
    Beth Israel Center – Madison, WI
    Temple Emanu-El – Reno, NV
    Congregation Sinai – San Jose, CA
    Hillel at the University of New Mexico – Albuquerque, NM
    Emanuel Synagogue – Oklahoma City, OK
    Congregation Ori Ami – Houston, TX
    Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation – Metairie, LA
    Temple Beth-El – Birmingham, AL
    Congregation Beth Shalom – Dunwoody, GA
    Tikvat Israel Congregation – Rockville, MD
    Congregation Tifereth Israel – Bensalem, PA
    Temple Emanu-El – Providence, RI
    Temple Emanuel – Newton Centre, MA
    Temple Beth Tzedek – Amherst, NY
    B’nai Jeshurun Congregation – Cleveland, OH
    Ohavay Zion Synagogue – Lexington, KY
    Heska Emuna Synagogue – Knoxville, TN
    Congregation Etz Chaim – Marietta, GA
    Jacksonville Jewish Center – Jacksonville, FL
    Congregation Ohev Shalom – Maitland, FL
    Congregation Agudath Achim – Savannah, GA
    Synagogue Emanu-El – Charleston, SC
    Beth David Synagogue – Greensboro, NC

    If you would like to host a USY on Wheels bus this summer or learn more about how to send teens from your synagogue on a USY Summer Program in 2024, please email [email protected].

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

  • NJOP Sponsored Hebrew Reading Courses
    The Hebrew Reading Crash Course is a FREE program promoted by its sponsor NJOP (National Jewish Outreach Program) each fall as part of its annual Hebrew literacy campaign, Read Hebrew America and Canada. Click below to learn more about this program that has taught almost 270,000 North American Jews to read Hebrew.Participants in this highly successful program learn to read Hebrew in only five, one-hour lessons. The program may be successfully offered either in-person or on Zoom or other online platforms.

    You can register for Read Hebrew America and Canada here or if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to NJOP’s programming team at [email protected]. Learn more here.

  • Small Congregation Virtual Leadership Gathering
    Wednesday, October 18
    5pm PT|6pm MT|7pm CT|8pm ET
    For this month’s gathering, we are offering a special opportunity for learning from each other and sharing programming and other ideas. Please submit your questions in advance  to Mindy Gordon [email protected] so that we will be able to cover as much as possible during the session. Register here.
  • Preparing your Synagogue for Natural Weather and Emergency Events
    Thursday, October 19
    10am PT|11am MT|12pm CT|1pm ET

    Are you prepared for inclement weather? Do you have the right coverages in place? In this presentation, Church Mutual will go over how to plan for inclement weather, what to do during severe weather events, and the steps to recovery after an event. Register here.
  • New Workshop Series for Education Directors
    3rd Wednesday of each month
    10am PT|11am MT|12pm CT|1pm ET

    Presented by:
    JEA (Jewish Educators Assembly)
    ARJE (Association for Reform Jewish Educators) Join us for a new monthly series designed for Education Directors.  We will have a different presenter each month. Come each month or join us when a specific topic sounds interesting. Our next session and topic will be:
    October 18 – Communicating with Families
    Register and full schedule here.
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) Webinar
    Thursday, October 26
    2:00-3:15pm ET

    Please join the Secure Community Network’s (SCN) webinar, “NSGP Award Implementation,” on Thursday, 26 October 2023, from 2:00-3:15pm ET, where SCN will be joined by a representative from FEMA for additional NSGP award implementation guidance. Register here.
  • Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies Virtual Open House for Prospective Students
    Sunday, October 29
    If you are interested in learning more about the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, please join them for their virtual open house. They will be hosting a presentation on the school’s curriculum and mission, and answering any of your questions. Register here.
  • Tzohar: Discover The Rabbinical School and H.L. Miller Cantorial School
    Monday, October 30
    Calling all future rabbis and cantors! Come and learn about The Rabbinical School and H. L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prospective students can talk with deans, join a minyan, meet current students and more! Learn more and register here.
  • Sulam for Officers
    Sunday & Monday, November 5 and 6 11 am ET|10 am CT|9 am MT|8 am PT Virtual
    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.
  • Inclusive Hiring & Leadership
    Wednesday, November 8
    7pm ET|6pm CT|5pm MT|4pm PT

    Starting a rabbinic search for your community? Considering a potential search over the next two years (for any employee)?Or, are you “just” interested in making your environment more conducive to healthy and meaningful employment? We hope so! The Joint Placement Commission, a partnership of USCJ and the RA, is pleased to present our FIRST-EVER incentive-based Inclusive Hiring and Leadership webinar.

    Specifically for synagogues in search – but open to all – participation in this FREE 2-hour webinar is strongly recommended and will earn your community a GOLD STAR* on your rabbinic search questionnaire this year (and it’s good through the 2025-2026 search year!). We encourage congregations/communities to register and attend as a group, whether as a search committee, an executive board, or a smaller subset. Register here.

  • JEA and JTS Convocation
    Thursday, November 9
    3:30pm ET

    Jewish Educators Assembly is proud to honor our members who are receiving degrees of Doctor of Pedagogy, honoris causa, in recognition of their years of devoted service and significant contributions to the field of Jewish education. Pay tribute to our honorees and support the JEA by placing a journal ad in their honor. Click below to view honorees and place an ad. Submissions must be received by October 20. Place ad here.
  • Announcing New Program Google Group
    Do you feel like you are constantly looking for new programs and ways to engage your congregants? NAASE & USCJ are partnering on a Google Group for professionals and lay leaders to share program ideas and be creative together. Let’s gather our best resources and collaborate!Please click below 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! 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.
  • 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.There are 214 congregations and over a thousand coupons and certificates that have been generated already for distribution. Join the more than 200 communities helping their B*Mitzvah students get to Israel! Learn more 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
  • Chief Development Officer

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.