rabbi steven wernick 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
NEW YORK – A joint commission of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
and Hayom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism has gone
public with a draft strategic plan meant to change Conservative communities and
The plan “calls for significant changes in focus and
leadership and dramatic improvement in the way United Synagogue partners with
its congregations and others across North America,” United Synagogue’s chief
executive officer and executive vice president Rabbi Steven Wernick
“The strategic plan emphasizes tangible change, organizational
transparency, openness, and a new way of doing things.” According to the new
plan, USCJ will focus on strengthening synagogues, cultivating new leadership
and creating a more unified and integrated educational system from early
childhood through college years.
The plan is at least partially in
response to a turning point of sorts in Conservative Judaism: with an aging
constituency, decline in numbers of adherents and movement away from
denominational identification, many congregants feel ambivalent about their
The main way to remedy these ills, the draft
contends, is to build kehillot, or communities, within the Conservative movement
from the ground-up via education and community organizing.
commitment to Conservative Judaism and Conservative congregations is at the core
of USCJ’s vision and mission, the new USCJ can become a nexus for serious,
post-denominational Judaism as well,” the draft notes in a particularly revealing