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Read This Important Statement on Jerusalem as Israel Capital

December 8, 2017 20 Kislev, 5778

USCJ applauds the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. For 70 years, this has been the reality as Israel, like all nations, must be free to determine its capital.

Though we question the purpose of the recognition at this time, we welcome President Trump’s statement that the long-term status of Jerusalem is to be negotiated directly between the parties. USCJ reaffirms its belief that the two-state formula is the most viable pathway to peace, granting Israel security and the Palestinians their national aspirations. We call upon the parties to return to the negotiation table and renew the efforts toward peace.

We pray that as Shabbat is soon upon us, its peace, and that of Jerusalem’s namesake, fill the world with peace.

Rabbi Steve Wernick, CEO
Margo Gold, International President

thicker-line2Experience the Excitement of USCJ Convention Through These Media Highlights

The gathering in Atlanta was a living example of authentic and dynamic Judaism. Here are some ways you can experience the excitement that brought nearly 1,200 Conservative Jews together:




Immerse Yourself in Sulam for Officers

Can’t make it to Baltimore for Sulam for Presidents, June 7-10, 2018? Or maybe you’re not the synagogue president, but still want immersive leadership training?

You and your fellow kehilla (Jewish community) leaders can try Sulam for Officers as an alternative:

Sulam for Officers
Newton, MA
April 29-30, 2018

Taking place over two days, Sulam for Officers is an intensive leadership program that arms officers with the resources and tools needed to contribute to the leadership team and to continue their climb up the leadership ladder.


Save the Date For This Soulful Shabbaton!

KOL TEFILLA, a Soulful Shabbaton to Elevate Kehilla Prayer-Life
April 17-19, 2018
Temple Beth Am, Los Angeles, CA

Learn more here.




Are You Ready to Think Deep?

Is your kehilla ready to do some deep thinking about your vision, mission and values? Could you use some help figuring out how to do that? You might be right for the next Sulam for Strategic Planners cohort. The application deadline is rapidly approaching on January 16, 2018. Contact Kehilla Relationship Manager Rachel Sisk (rsisk@uscj.org) to discuss.


Helping Boards Be Strategic and Constructive

In his latest blog post, USCJ’s Kehilla Leadership Specialist Bob Leventhal discuss unhealthy board behaviors and offers suggestions to create a better board.

“In a healthy board, leaders can learn and utilize leadership approaches and practices to minimize destructive behavior and maximize constructive leadership. That effort will make a positive impact.”

Read the full post on the USCJ blog.


Be on the Lookout For Leadership Matters

Leadership Matters is USCJ’s new bi-weekly communication for leaders at member congregations. Those in leadership positions will begin to receive this publication, which will include valuable content to help strengthen your congregation and advance the role of an authentic and dynamic Judaism in the world. Please make sure that we have your kehilla’s most up to date staff and board contact information. You can send your current staff and leadership lists to pacsw@uscj.org.


Honoring the Solomon Schechter Award-Winning Programs

At the recent convention, USCJ officially honored the 11 congregations who won this year’s Solomon Schechter Awards, designed to recognize initiatives that shape an authentic and dynamic experience of Conservative Judaism. See the complete list of winners, including PSWR’s Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge, CA, and read about the exceptional programs here.


Tap Into Leadership Resources From the USCJ Kehilla Strengthening and Transformation Department

Below you will find articles from a variety of sources about critical issues facing religious leaders today. We encourage you to read the articles and share the ones that challenge you with your kehilla (Jewish community) and all those interested in raising the bar for leadership in the Jewish community. Articles from websites that require a subscription will be marked with an *.

  1. Kids, Would You Please Start Fighting?: Under the right circumstances, conflict can be a productive source of group tension when a team is trying to solve a challenging problem. Read this article in The New York Times about the value of constructive fighting to generate creative output.
  2. Amazon, Whole Foods and the Future of the Brick-and-Mortar Church: The growth of online retail reflects many of the challenges that synagogues and churches face today. Here is an article from the Faith and Leadership Institute about how disruption in the retail sector relates to changes in religious institutions.
  3. Board Members Behaving Badly: Many synagogue boards are hijacked by individuals who want to make a leadership contribution, but keep the group from developing productive solutions. Read this article in eJewishPhilanthropy about archetypes of problematic board members.
  4. We’re In the Innovation Business: Religion is a conservative institution, and it is easy to assume innovation and religion do not mix. Here is an article from the Alban Institute about the possibilities of a relationship between innovation and religion.
  5. Conservative Judaism’s Problem? It’s Too Conservative: Conservative Judaism is no stranger to innovation challenges, yet many challenges of Conservative Judaism come from our risk-averse culture. Read this article in the Forward about a counter-intuitive approach to the future of Conservative Judaism.
  6. Synagogue Mixes Art and Religion: Religion and the arts are an exciting combination, and they provide a different outlet to express one’s spirituality. Read this article in The New York Times about the story of the Sixth & I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.
  7. Better Decisions: Leadership involves decisions, yet too many leaders regret the way in which they arrive at even the right decision. Here is an article from McKinsey & Company about helping leaders improve their decision-making process.
  8. Jewish Communal Fund Giving Report: The Jewish Communal Fund released a giving report that provides invaluable information to understand how, when and why people do philanthropy in the twenty-first century. Read this article in eJewishPhilanthropy for a summary and download of the report.
  9. The Messy Reality of Religious Liberty in America: Religious liberty is a hot topic today, yet many of our assumptions about religious liberty are grounded in a limited historical understanding of United States history. Here is an article from The Conversation about the nuances of religious liberty.
  10. For Conservative Judaism, Time to Dare Together: Conservative Judaism is no stranger to innovation challenges, yet we cannot avoid tackling tough challenges because we are afraid. Read this article from The Jewish Week about what it means for Conservative Jews to reject a culture of fear.

As a reminder, these articles were chosen after reviewing the following publications. If you have any suggestions on publications you would like to see reviewed, please contact Rabbi Josh Rabin, Director of Innovation, at rabin@uscj.org. To subscribe to the Sulam Reader or Sulam Texts, click on this link.




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