USCJ Idea Generator Visionary Awards



August 6, 2021

Media Contact:

Steve Rabinowitz, Bluelight Strategies

[email protected]


United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and Conservative Movement Partners

Announce 2021 “Idea Generator – Visionary Awards” Winners

Synagogues in Seattle, WA and Penn Valley, PA are top winners.


USCJ has awarded top winners and runners-up from the “Idea Generator – Visionary Awards” program, which looks to the future and develops creative solutions for the in-person/virtual engagement dilemmas of the post-pandemic environment. The three winners received seed money to implement their visions and help other congregations learn to apply similar creations to solve emerging problems.


Applicants were judged by a panel consisting of lay and staff representatives from the following Conservative movement partner organizations: United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), The Rabbinical Assembly (RA), The Cantors Assembly (CA), The Jewish Educators Assembly (JEA), and The North American Association of Synagogue Executives (NAASE). Entries focused on three categories: learning ideas, which entailed developing classes or experiences for youth or adults; programming ideas, meant for social, cultural, holiday, diversity/inclusion, or collaboration efforts; and ritual ideas, which could pertain to Tefilla (prayer) holiday celebrations, or music and singing.


The top three award recipients in each category were invited to present their concepts in a webinar. The winners exemplified creativity, dedication, and commitment to helping their synagogue communities thrive in this uncertain time.


Congregation Beth Shalom in Seattle, WA, in collaboration with Mosaic Law Congregation, Sacramento, CA, and Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland, OR, won the learning category after proposing a new, dynamic religious school experience. The partnership brings a virtual alternative to individuals and families that dovetails with the Hebrew learning and prayer experiences synagogues offer virtually and/or in-person. Watch their presentation here.


For “Programming Ideas” Congregation Beth Shalom of Seattle, WA took the top prize for a unique strategy to build community around the Shmita (sabbatical) year, via a partnership with interfaith networks and audiences through Earth Ministry. The idea, Shmita Project Northwest, aims to raise awareness about what a Shmita year means for community, and to bring Shmita values to life online and in-person. Watch their presentation here.


For “Ritual Ideas,” winning congregation Congregation Beth Am Israel in Penn Valley, PA pitched their Music Prayer Lab, a spiritually uplifting musical experience in nature with dedicated musicians, pray-ers, and fellow travelers. The collaborative music experience can be done both in-person and online simultaneously, with special social distancing accommodations that facilitate intentional music making, learning and friendship. Watch their winning presentation here.


A full list of Idea Generator – Visionary Awards winners and runners-up can be found here or at



Rabbinical Assembly

Cantors Assembly

Jewish Educators Assembly

Jewish Youth Directors Assembly

North American Association of Synagogue Executives

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