Feature Article

“Hear What 2017 Convention Attendees Thought of This Year’s Event”

Photo by: Wendy Lupul


Photo by: Wendy Lupul

A gathering of like-minded individuals is sure to bring out fresh, innovative ideas and rich conversation. That’s exactly what transpired at the 2017 USCJ (United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) Convention in Atlanta, GA, as everyone from rabbis to energetic college students gathered together for an action-packed five-day event at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel.

The biannual convention, which took place from December 1-5, was filled with enriching discussions of ways to engage teenagers in Jewish educational experiences, new ways of forming and building communities, how to empower new participants in synagogue life and much more.

The time in between the informational sessions and workshops left plenty of room for dancing, music and delicious food. Find out firsthand what some of this year’s attendees thought of the 2017 Convention:

Rabbi K’Vod Wieder & Wendy Lupul

Wendy Lupul, Temple Beth El lay leader (South Orange County, CA)

“One idea that was brought up at the convention that struck me was when one of the communities talked about putting a mezuzah at a lower level so that those in wheelchairs could reach it. It was a thoughtful and useful idea to return to our community with. I also found the music, particularly Josh Warshawsky and Joey Weisenberg’s style of prayer and bringing people together, to be quite beautiful. The staff and leadership was impressive and realistic about what’s going on in the world in terms of diverse Jewish communities as well as important things in the news that directly impact our community.”

MaryAnn Malkoff, executive director, Temple Beth Emet (Anaheim, CA)

“This is the second USCJ Conference I’ve attended. My advice is to attend EVERY plenary program—the lineup was wonderful. The forward thinking of Rabbi Steve Wernick, Chancellor Arnie Eisen, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson and Rabbi Ed Feinstein dazzled me. I found that Bob Leventhal’s introduction of ‘Sulam for Purposeful Living – Engaging Baby Boomers in Kehilla Life’ to be exactly the kind of engagement our community is looking for. But the person who made the trip across the country worthwhile was the program with Helen Dennis: ‘Gamechangers in Twenty-First Century Aging.’ Her course alone was worth the trip to Atlanta. I already have USCJ’s 2019 Boston Conference on my calendar!”


L to R: Talia Kaplan, Rich Kaplan, Mitch Ross

Mitch Ross, incoming president, Congregation Or Tzion (Scottsdale, AZ):

“I came to the Convention this year because I’ve been a member of USCJ for many years and wanted to learn more about the organization and build relationships. The Convention was a great opportunity to connect with leaders from around the country, and to learn about the initiatives of USCJ. My participation has allowed me to interact with past, current and incoming kehilla presidents who face similar situations and challenges, such as recruiting and retaining membership and addressing the evolving needs of the kehilla.”

For more information about the 2017 Convention, click here.

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