United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Announces Winners of 2015 Solomon Schechter Awards

September 9, 2015

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) announced today the winners of its 2015 Solomon Schechter Awards, designed to recognize initiatives that shape the center of the dynamic experience of Conservative Judaism. Two synagogues, Ahavath Achim Synagogue of Atlanta, GA and Congregation Beth David of Saratoga, CA, have been distinguished at the highest level for innovation and impact, while 13 others were recognized for excellence in one of five categories.

One hundred and ninety programs were submitted for consideration, and a panel of 10 judges carefully reviewed the entries to select the winners. Both Ahavath Achim Synagogue and Congregation Beth David will present their award-winning initiatives at the 2015 USCJ convention, Shape the Center. Representatives from other synagogues recognized for excellence will serve as panelists in several workshops about thriving congregations.

The winning programs are:

Highest Award for Innovation and Impact

1. Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Atlanta, GA – “AA – ACTS” Ahavath Achim Against Child Trafficking for Sex – Prophetic Voice

2. Congregation Beth David, Saratoga, CA – Netivot HaNeshama – Pathways of the Soul

Recognition of Excellence – Israel

1. Temple Israel of Great Neck, NY – Facing East Connecting with Sister City Ashkelon

2. Beth Yeshurun, Houston, TX – Israel-a –palooza

3. Tiferet Bet Israel, Blue Bell, PA – TBI to Israel – Israel to TBI

Recognition of Excellence – Torah and T’fillah

1. Sutton Place Synagogue, New York, NY – The Transformed Teenager

2. Kol Shofar, Tiburon, CA – Center for Jewish Spirituality

3. Beth Torah Sha’arey Tzedek, Tamarac, FL – Shabbat Morning Offerings

Recognition of Excellence – Community Embrace (Inclusion)

1. Adath Shalom, Morris Plains, NJ – Chairs of Inclusion

2. Forrest Hills Jewish Center, Forrest Hills, NY – Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

3. Beth Torah Sha’arey Tzedek, Tamarac, FL – 6 Million Steps

Recognition of Excellence – Kehilla

1. B’nai Tzedek, Potomac, MD – Community Builders

2. B’nai Abraham, Dayton, OH – 90+ Shabbat

3. Jericho Jewish Center, NY – Hiking and Halacha

Recognition of Excellence – Prophetic Voice (Tikkun Olam)

1. B’nai Israel, Albuquerque, NM – Jewish/Muslim Habitat for Humanity

2. Ahavas Israel, Grand Rapids, MI – Corners of the Field Garden

The awards program was named after Dr. Solomon Schechter, who founded the United Synagogue in 1913. Dr. Schechter’s stress on meaningful synagogue activity and his emphasis on the synagogue as one of Judaism’s core institutions are reflected in the USCJ mission as a movement, and in particular, in the selection and presentation of these awards. Since 1949, several hundred congregations have been recognized.

About USCJ

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is a community of North American kehillot (Jewish communities inside and outside the walls of the synagogue) committed to a dynamic Judaism that is learned and passionate, authentic and pluralistic, joyful and accessible. USCJ creates the spiritual, intellectual, and managerial network that empowers kehillot to fulfill their sacred mission and connects them with a common sense of community, shared mission and purpose. To learn more, visit www.uscj.org.