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August 28, 2015 | 13th Elul 5775
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District Lay Communities

Meet the Central District Leadership Team

Lenore Mass Shalom! I'm Lenore Mass, Chair of the Central District. We have an exciting new structure in the URJ Districts to help create a sense of connection and community among our congregations. The Central District is made up of nine Communities, each with its own Leadership Team. During 2013 and 2014 we will be selecting these teams and training our new leaders. The following three communities have already begun this important work:

  • Central/Eastern Canada
  • Chicago Area/NW Indiana
  • Kentucky/Indiana/Central & Southern Ohio

As these Communities roll out during the last half of 2013, we will begin filling leadership roles in the remaining Communities. Our Central District Leadership Team consists of:

Lenore Mass
Vice Chair for Small & New Congregations
Marzy Bauer
Vice Chair for Nominations
Bette Cotzin
Community Chairs
See partial list below

Community Leadership Teams are made up of:

  • Chair
  • Vice Chair for Presidents
  • Vice Chair for Community Building
  • URJ staff partner

As we continue developing this new structure, we will add a Vice Chair for Affinities.

Unlike earlier structures, this one is primarily lay-driven with staff support. Below is a list of the lay leaders in each of our already-established URJ Communities.

Central/Eastern Canada

Chair - Paul Leszner, Temple Emanu-El, Toronto, ON

Vice Chair Presidents - Chuck Magerman, Temple Har Zion, Thornhill, ON

Chicago Area/NW Indiana

Chair - Wendy Rhodes, Congregation Solel, Highland Park, IL

Vice Chair Presidents - Gayle Weil, B'nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Homewood, IL

Vice Chair Community Building - Greg Miller, Am Shalom, Glencoe, IL


Chair - Susan Lancaster, The Temple Congregation Adath Israel Brith Sholom, Louisville, KY

Vice Chair Presidents - Carolyn Hiser, Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Indianapolis, IN

Vice Chair Community Building - Mitchell Faust, Temple Israel, Dayton, OH

Why Communities?

What will each of these leaders be doing, and how will we be creating a sense of connection in each of our Communities? Every year each Community will hold at least one gathering of congregational presidents. They will share best practices, network, learn about URJ programs that can benefit their congregations, discuss common issues. In addition, every Community will hold a Community-wide gathering/kallah/Shabbaton open to all congregants in the Community. These may revolve around a particular theme, scholar-in-residence, communal activity, prayer, or just the fun of getting together and getting to know others who are involved in their congregations. There will also be an annual District-wide kallah for small congregations.

We know the District structure did not provided the kind of opportunities people want to meet and connect with other Reform Jews in a meaningful way. We are confident that the Communities will begin to fill this need. As with anything new, this is a process, and there are sure to be some glitches along the way. This is one reason we are not starting all the Communities at the same time. I ask for your patience, as well as participation. When your Community has a Kallah, come! When your president is invited to a presidents' gathering, encourage them to attend.

We will be constantly evaluating our progress and success for every event. We know there is always room for improvement. If you have ideas, questions, feedback, or suggestions, please contact me at I look forward to meeting many of you at your Community's annual gathering.


Lenore Mass, Central District Chair


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