Leadership Connections #9: February 18, 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



Ethical Questions Posed by the Covid-19 Vaccine

Now that the vaccines for Covid-19 are available, is there an obligation to be vaccinated? Can Jewish institutions require vaccinations for employees, students, and congregants? What should be the guidelines for their distribution? Find out what the Conservative Movement’s guidance is on these issues. Read the teshuvah here *Please note this is not legal advice. Please check your local employment laws for secular guidance on this matter. For HR questions please contact Vivian Lewis at [email protected]. The Rabbinical Assembly compiled several prayers for the Covid Vaccine. Read them here. Rabbi Alex Braver shares his thoughts on the proper prayer for a vaccine here.

Additional New Normal Content:


  • 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 for 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.
  • Hiring & Placement During Covid: Refresher Resources — Though Covid has impacted so many aspects of synagogue life, the need to hire staff and clergy hasn’t stopped. Check out at these resources for a refresher on how to handle (and how other synagogues have handled) these processes while still maintaining pandemic-friendly practices.

Leadership Content

Thought leadership, event information, and news for synagogue leaders

Featured Article:

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

Wednesdays 8-9PM starting February 24-March 17th. Thursdays 1-2PM starting March 4-18 and Tuesday March 23rd.

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. You can register here. Note: the sponsorship deadline is February 23.

Additional Leadership Content:

  • 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.
  • Black History Month: Kol Tzedek Recordings & Materials — In honor of Black History Month we are sharing resources from Kol Tzedek, an engaging conference on racial justice and community organizing for synagogue professionals and lay leaders that took place on Nov 8-10, 2020. You can also attend racial justice office hours every other Tuesday through the end of March. Sign up 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 community as much as possible even during this pandemic. We are wondering how many of our synagogues are still meeting for services and how.

In what way is your synagogue continuing to meet for services:

  • Zoom
  • Live Stream
  • Hybrid of Zoom and Live Stream
  • In-person



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.