Leadership Connections #7: January 21, 2021

Welcome to Leadership Connections, a twice monthly publication for synagogue leaders and clergy from USCJ.

The New Normal

Resources for synagogue leaders in the time of Covid



The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest

The Big Bold Jewish Climate Fest, scheduled for January 27-31, 2021, centers around Tu BiShvat, and is a free, virtual and collaborative festival by and for people who want to activate Jewish values to move the needle on climate change. Climate action must be a central moral issue of our community, and our current moment is a unique opportunity for collaboration and engagement that might otherwise not have been possible. Many organizations and individuals are expected to attend in order to share their enthusiasm for and expertise on this topic, and to collectively re-energize Tu BiShvat as a purpose driven experience. More info and registration is available here.

Additional New Normal Content:


  • Innovative Tu B’shvat Programs from Congregation Beth Shalom of Overland Park, KS — Like all holidays, Tu B’shvat will look and feel a little different for all of us in 2021/5781. However, Congregation Beth Shalom has come up with some truly creative and innovative ways for their community to celebrate. First, they’ll host a drive through event where participants receive seeds to plant in order to have parsley for Passover. And second, the congregation is offering two opportunities for members to explore their family trees — a play on the themes of nature and trees for the holiday. More info is available here.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Jewish Disability Advocacy Month (JDAM)

USCJ is proud to be one of 182 national and local partners for Jewish Disability Advocacy Month (JDAM) this February — a month of education, solidarity-building, and empowerment in support of people with disabilities, powered by the Jewish Federations of North America. Please visit the JDAM website for a wealth of information on program highlights and ways your congregation can participate, and be sure to access the promotional toolkit to learn how to promote the month-long series of events and widely publicize your own programs.

In addition, USCJ is proud to partner with the Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for and advances the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society. For a full list of resources about synagogue accessibility and much more, click here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • USCJ’s Aimee Close Accepted to Upstart Lab — We all join in wishing congratulations to Aimee Close, USCJ’s Synagogue Consultant for Leadership Development, on being accepted to Upstart Lab’s first set of National Change Accelerator cohorts. UpStart’s Change Accelerator equips the Jewish community’s boldest intrapreneurs with a set of lifelong entrepreneurial skills, tools, and mindsets to adapt to any challenge and to meet their constituents’ evolving needs. Participants gain a new understanding of how to think strategically, change course quickly, and create bold solutions to any challenge they face. Learn more about the cohort and the program here.

Special Events

Upcoming events from USCJ and our partners

ScholarStream: A Joint Initiative from the RA, USCJ, JTS, and Ziegler

ScholarStream is a four part series which will give participants the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s leading scholars and engage deeply with our texts and traditions. Though the congregation sign up has now ended, individuals are still able to register!

JFNA’s Virtual Mission to Washington

Join USCJ affiliated synagogues and communities across the United States for the first-ever national Jewish Virtual Mission to Washington. Participants will virtually meet with members of the new administration and bi-partisan Congressional leaders to advocate for the priorities of the Jewish community. The mission is free and will take place from the evening of February 1 through the evening of February 2nd, 2021. Register here.

One Question Survey

We want to hear from you so that we can tailor future content, events, and resources to exactly what you need.

This edition’s featured question:

Here at USCJ one of our goals is to help promote collaboration among our member synagogues as well as with other Jewish (and non-Jewish) institutions in our communities. We are interested in hearing from our leadership about how often that collaboration is currently taking place.

Would you say that your synagogue collaborates on programming or services with other organizations:

  • Once a week
  • Once a month
  • Several times a year
  • Rarely