have a question. Whom should I contact?
Congregational leaders can
contact the Knowledge Network. The dedicated members of the Knowledge Network connect congregational leaders with the wisdom
of the people and institutions of the Reform Movement. (Learn
more about the Knowledge Network in question six.) Members of the Knowledge
Network can be reached at URJ1800@urj.org
and at 1.855.URJ.1800.
I initiate a clergy search and how do I find out the details of such a
process, which may or may not include transition planning? What are the
The search process for rabbis is coordinated by the
placement director of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)
and the search process for cantors is coordinated by the placement
director of the American Conference of Cantors (ACC).
You can initiate a search or find out information about the search process
by contacting the placement directors:
For transition planning support and additional
placement support, please contact the URJ Strengthening Congregations
Consulting and Transition Management team, Rabbis Jan Offel and David Fine. (Learn more about this team in question nine.)
I do when I have questions about the details of clergy contracts?
There are three options for pursuing questions about
The first is to contact
the Knowledge Network and ask to be connected with an expert on the
subject. Knowledge Network team members work in partnership with the URJ's
counsel, who can call upon a group of knowledgeable lay leaders who are
familiar with clergy contracts, and who are available to consult on a number of
contract issues. While most, if not all, are attorneys, they do not provide
legal advice; congregational leaders are strongly urged to have their congregation's
own counsel review any and all contracts. It should also be noted that there is
no "one-size-fits-all" contract, regardless of the position, and the URJ's
counsel can only provide samples of what has been successful in other
third option is to pose your question to other congregational presidents and
leaders in The Tent, the URJ's online collaboration forum (see
we initiate a conversation about having a URJ-facilitated board workshop?
Contact Lay Resources Director Gila Hadani Ward (email@example.com).
Provide information about your board and congregation, and discuss both
your general needs and the specific goals that you have for a board
workshop. Gila will then find an appropriate trained facilitator that is
best suited for your situation.
can I speak if I have questions about support for the Reform Movement or
want to get more information about URJ Membership dues?
Because there are several different types of issues
related to support for the Reform Movement, the person with whom you
should speak depends on the type of question you have. The URJ has
professional staff who can address most questions, and there is a large
cohort of lay leaders who can provide assistance and information, as well.
Contact the URJ Membership department at firstname.lastname@example.org. [RR1]
the Knowledge Network and how can I connect with its members?
The Knowledge Network
connects congregational leaders with the wisdom of the people and
institutions of the Reform Movement. Led by Michael Goldberg, director,
the Knowledge Network team includes Gabby Kozak, Merry Lugasy, Judi
Ratner, Robin Riegelhaupt and Karen Sirota. The team is part of Amy Asin's
Strengthening Congregations division. Among the team's responsibilities
are responding to questions about congregational life and Reform Judaism;
finding and sharing best principles and exceptional programming examples;
and helping congregational and Reform Movement leaders maximize their Tent
experience. (Learn more about The Tent directly below.) Connect with the Knowledge
Network by emailing URJ1800@urj.org or calling 1.855.URJ.1800
What is The Tent?
Tent is the URJ's collaboration space, connecting congregational and
Reform Movement leaders. Hosted on a platform called Yammer, The Tent is a
forum in which you can have ongoing conversations with multiple cohorts as
well as share and store documents. With a familiar social network feel,
The Tent is user-friendly and easy to join. (Visit yammer.com/thetent to sign up.) In
addition to The Tent, the URJ has created a space within Yammer that is
exclusively for congregational presidents (past and present), the
Presidents' Lounge. This network has the same usability as The Tent
network; the difference is the Presidents' Lounge is open only to
presidents. The conversations that used to take place on PresConf are now
taking place in the Presidents' Lounge. (Visit yammer.com/presidentslounge
to sign up.)
I quickly access resources about key topics?
Visit The Tent! It is the place for congregational and Reform Movement leaders to
connect with, ask questions of and learn from one another. In addition to
engaging with your fellow leaders, you can also use The Tent's powerful
search function to look for specific resources. Simply type your search
term into the search box (located on every Tent page), and filter through
the results to find what you need.
is the Consulting and Transition Management team?
Strengthening Congregations Consulting and Transition Management Team boasts
the talents and expertise of Rabbi Jan Offel and Rabbi David Fine. When there
is a transition of the senior or only rabbi in a synagogue; when there is an
issue between clergy and lay leadership; when there is a crisis situation
within the congregation; when there are questions about collaboration or
merger, as well as other matters of significant change (whether anticipated or
unplanned), Rabbis Offel and Fine are available for consultation and referral.
(See contact information above.)
Are there marketing and communications resources
available through the URJ?
Yes. Several marketing and communications resources have been added
to The Tent (see the Communications
group in Yammer; additional resources are continually added). In
addition, the URJ
provides guidance on creating
bulletins and websites, including
the popular RJ Web Builder program,
which provides websites to URJ congregations at no additional cost. There
are also other
suggestions for better communication with members
I update my congregation's leadership roster, including providing the
correct names, email addresses and titles of our leaders?
Whenever there is a change
in congregational leadership, it is important to send such updates to the
URJ so that relevant information gets to the appropriate people. You can
easily update your congregation's leadership roster by using the URJ Confidential Congregational
Should you have any questions about logging into or using the URJ Confidential
Congregational Update tool, please contact our Data Management department
learning opportunities specifically for presidents does the URJ provide? The Scheidt Seminar is the North American training institute for
congregational presidents and presidents-elect, and is held each April in
Atlanta, Georgia. Participants have the opportunity to meet other
presidents; share ideas; and engage with the senior leadership of the URJ,
including URJ President Rick Jacobs and URJ Chair Steven Sacks. For more
information, write to ScheidtSeminar@urj.org.
the URJ Conference of Presidents?
The URJ Conference of Presidents (COP) is a body within
the URJ comprised of presidents of URJ congregations. It serves to
represent congregational presidents to senior professional and lay
leadership within the URJ, including the URJ Board and Oversight
Committee. In addition, the Conference of Presidents helps represent URJ
leadership to congregational leaders.
The URJ COP is managed by a 16-person Steering
Committee. The initial Steering Committee is comprised of 12 members who were
appointed by the URJ district chairs, three from each district and four members
appointed by the URJ chair. The members of the Steering Committee were selected
to represent the geography, size and diversity of our congregations. Beginning
in 2013, there have been elections for members of the Steering Committee in
The URJ COP holds regular webinars for all
presidents with Rabbi Jacobs and members of the URJ senior leadership, and
other webinars as necessary. The URJ COP also conducts surveys of presidents so
that it can accurately and properly represent the opinions and views of
presidents to leadership.
current roster of the Steering Committee is at the end of this document. You
can contact the Steering Committee or URJ Conference of Presidents Chair
Michael Laufer at email@example.com.
for Reform Judaism Conference of Presidents Steering Committee
(term beginning 9.1.13, as of 9.23.13)
[Note: because this document is posted in a public
forum, contact information has been removed. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Donald Simon, IPP
Rodef Shalom Congregation
Steve Messner Temple Sinai (1044)
Term: 9/1/13 - 8/31/16
Eric Fels Congregation Keneseth Israel
Allentown, PA Term: 9/1/13 - 8/31/15
Lisa Borowitz Congregation Kol Ami (751)
White Plains, NY
Judi Amsel, President
Congregation Brith Sholem
Jewish Congregation (200)
9/1/13 - 8/31/16
Baeck Temple (555)
9/1/13 - 8/31/15
Susan Burack, President
Temple Jacob (17)
Marc Whitefield, President
Temple Israel (3400)
West Bloomfield, MI
Sinai Temple (281)
Stephen Enda, IPP
Temple Shalom (800)
Paul Vanek, President
Agudas Israel Congregation (174)
Rick Glaser Temple
Beth El (1,086)
9/1/13 - 8/31/16