Congregational Life

Synagogue Innovation is the Key to Strengthening Jewish Life

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
June 21, 2016

If conventional wisdom reigned supreme, it would be easy to imagine that many of our venerable congregations – those steeped in history and tradition – are, by definition, ill-equipped to adapt to the complex and sometimes confusing trends in contemporary Jewish life. Supposedly enlightened students of contemporary Jewish life regularly suggest that when it comes to congregations and denominations, “large” means “lethargic” and “old” means “obsolete.” To their way of thinking, “new” means “noteworthy,” and “small” means “sustainable.” The Jewish future, they claim, belongs to small, innovative start-ups. 

In my view, their thinking is misguided and I’d like to challenge it.

How Your Congregation Can Transform Life for its Members

Rabbi Esther L. Lederman
June 16, 2016

More than three years ago, four visionary congregations began to work together, in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism, on a new strategy and vision for congregational life. That vision centers around “small groups,” a concept adapted for our purposes from the world of mega-churches.