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resources for small congregations
Strengthening Small Congregations

Small Congregation Grants

Small Congregation Grants provide financial assistance to members of congregations with 250 or fewer households who wish to attend URJ programs such as the URJ Biennial or the Scheidt Seminar. To apply, visit the appropriate program page.

The URJ Had’rachah Program for Lay Leadership in Ritual Life

The URJ Had’rachah Program for Lay Leadership in Ritual Life trains individuals to lead services and conduct some life cycle ceremonies in support of the spiritual life of their small congregations with solo, part-time, or no clergy. Learn more.

The ACC-URJ Worship Music Toolkit

The ACC and the URJ are jointly working on a Worship Music Toolkit for Small Congregations. It consists of sheet music, videos of cantors singing, clips of cantors explaining the liturgy behind the music, and additional music resources. It is available in The Tent, exclusively to small congregations (250 and under) who do not have a cantor or a music professional on staff.

Small Congregations Online Course: Training Emerging Leaders

We recognize that small congregations may not have enough leaders to host their own leadership development program. As a result, the URJ is currently offering a new online leadership development course for small congregations, which will take place January 27-July 3. Nominations for the pilot closed on January 17, 2020. To learn more, visit our webpage or contact Moriah Benjoseph Nassau (

PJ Library-URJ-WRJ® Partnership 

The PJ Library-URJ-WRJ® Partnership provides grants to small congregations in communities not served by the PJ Library program, enabling these congregations to offer free book subscriptions to local families with young children. Learn more.

The URJ Small Congregations Worship Active Learning Network

The URJ Small Congregations Worship Active Learning Network (ALN) is intended for lay leaders in small congregations who do not have clergy or have very limited visitation from clergy. This ALN shares best principles to creating more meaningful worship moments in the congregation. It is particularly beneficial for lay leaders who have previously attended the URJ Had’rachah Seminar for Lay Leadership in Ritual Life. It consists of 5 bi-weekly live sessions, in addition to opportunities for offline discussion, small group work, and problem-solving. Learn more.

The Jewish Community Legacy Project 

The JCLP aids congregations facing the eventualities of aging populations, changing demographics, and declining membership. They work closely with community leaders to help them shape forward-thinking plans that include ways to give new life to community assets, religious and historic artifacts, or maintain cemeteries and monuments. Great care is also given to archive individual and congregational histories, so that their stories live on in perpetuity. Learn more


URJ Small Congregations Director Merry Lugasy ( is available to advise small congregations about all facets of synagogue life.