Transition & Crisis Support

Rabbi Paula Winnig, Director, and Rabbi Matt Reimer, Associate Director, lead the URJ's support for congregations in crisis and managing transition. They provide support to congregations for a wide range of situations.

passing the baton during a relay race

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) provides support to congregations for a wide range of situations, including:

Major Clergy Transitions

  • For congregations undergoing a clergy transition, clergy transition and search support are provided in partnership with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and the American Conference of Cantors (ACC) before, during and after the search process. Congregations should contact the URJ for a confidential consultation as soon as they are considering a transition, or when concerns about other matters develop. For more information and for support, contact Rabbi Paula Winnig.
  • The Shallat Rabbinic Transition Program offers opportunities for presidents and new senior/solo rabbis to build strong, effective working relationships that foster the rabbi’s successful integration into the congregational community. 
  • An online discussion group in the URJ's interactive platform, The Tent, provides congregational leaders with the opportunity to hold discussions and share resources with other leaders from across North America who are also undergoing a transition or who are knowledgeable about the process.
  • The URJ Rabbinic Transition Roadmap is a self-guided resource for congregations undergoing senior/solo rabbinic transitions. It is designed to assist congregations in planning for the transition, "saying goodbye" to their current rabbi and "saying hello" to his or her successor. To request access to this resource, fill out our form.

Lay-Clergy Relationships, Conflict and Crisis Management

  • The Reform Movement has created two resources for review of clergy and professional staff. Introduction to Mutual Review is intended for review processes with rabbis; Guide to Values-Based Review is intended for review processes with cantors and professional staff. 
  • Rabbi Paula Winnig and Rabbi Matt Reimer provide confidential support to congregational leaders dealing with challenging interpersonal situations between lay leaders, clergy, and professionals.
  • The North American Commission on Rabbinic Congregational Relations (NCRCR) is a joint commission of the URJ and the CCAR. The NCRCR is uniquely equipped to help URJ congregations employing CCAR-member rabbis when tensions arise in a synagogue. The NCRCR is chaired by Rabbi William Kuhn, on behalf of the CCAR, and Ms. Robin Kosberg, on behalf of the URJ. Reach out to either Rabbi Kuhn or to Robin for a confidential consultation. For more information about the NCRCR, please see this fact sheet in the URJ Tent.

Support for Congregations Considering a Merger or Collaboration or other major structural changes to facilities or operations.

  • Rabbi Paula Winnig is available to confidentially advise congregations in the early stages of consideration of a merger or collaboration or other operational changes.

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