Leadership Connections #8: February 4, 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



Grogger vs. Dreydel: Reflections on our Topsy-Turvy World

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of USCJ and RA, explores why he thinks the dreydel would be the better symbol for the Purim story. Read the full text here.

Additional New Normal Content:


  • Re-Imagining Purim Webinar — Like all holidays, Purim will look and feel a little different for all of us in 2021/5781. Miriam Abrams-Stark, Synagogue Consultant for the Northeast District, led a webinar with the Jewish Educators Assembly (JEA) about best practices for this year. View different programming ideas here. More info is available here.
  • Planning a Successful Virtual Gala — Many synagogues hold their most important fundraising event in the spring; their annual gala. In light of the pandemic, we are providing a webinar about ways to re-imagine this event into a virtual format. We will discuss best practices, share case studies from two very innovative galas and will conclude with small discussion groups. View the flyer here. More info and registration is available here.
  • Second Draw PPP Loans — The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) now allows certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan with the same general loan terms as their First Draw PPP Loan. Check the SBA website to find out more. More info is available here.
  • Purim Programming Open to All — The Rabbinical Assembly has compiled a list of virtual Purim celebrations that anyone can join. More info is available here.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

Sulam for Presidents

Sulam for Presidents is a leadership training program for newly elected presidents and vice presidents likely to become president in the next two years. It prepares your leadership for the responsibilities and challenges that lay ahead. You can view the flyer here. More info is available here and registration is here.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • Volunteer Appreciation Video — Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal shared some learning at our Volunteer Appreciation. Take a listen and learn why USCJ volunteers have transcended the Jewish People. More info is available here.
  • Synagogue Security in a COVID and Post-COVID World — Bradley Orsini, Senior National Security Director for Secure Community Network, led a discussion about the current level of threat. More info is available 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!

Talk to Us!

Thanks for participating in our latest one-question survey!

Here’s what we found:

When readers were asked about how often their synagogue collaborates on programming or services with other organizations, they responded as follows:

In response, we are proud to offer the following resource, corresponding with the categories most often selected by respondents. Based on the survey responses we are working to provide more resources and will share them as they become available

If you have any further questions about your own synagogue collaborating, please feel free to reach out to your synagogue consultant.

Additional Resource:


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.