Monday, June 6, 2011

[Shefa] USCJ eNews--June 2011


eNews: Electronic Bulletin - The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

June 2011

What's Happening

Reducing Your Dues Burden - We are pleased to tell you that we are going to reduce your dues burden in fiscal year 2012 by introducing a five-percent early payment discount in dues. This discount is the first step in our plan to restructure our dues formula entirely. Rethinking the way we assess and collect dues is in response to hearing your concerns about dues is a major component of United Synagogue's recently approved strategic plan. Here are the details.

Rebranding Schechter

Rebranding Schechter - The Solomon Schechter Day School Association has become the Schechter Day School Network. Its new logo, a modern take on an ornamental compass rose, represents the idea of exploration and symbolizes the schools' new vitality and direction.

Choosing a College Jewishly - Rabbi Elyse Winick of our Koach program led two teleseminars on how to chose the right college, looking through a Jewish lens. It was geared for high school sophomores and juniors, parents, educators, and youth group advisors and directors. If you couldn't be on the call (or even if you could but want to hear it again) you can listen to it now.

Synagogues and Relationships - At their base, all synagogues are about relationships. In a recent webinar, Sarah Gladstone of Pogstone discussed how your kehilla can benefit as your professional and lay leaders use modern tools to shift from focusing on numbers to individual engagement and participation. You can listen to it here.

Register for the Kallah - Registration is now open for our biennial convention, Kallah 2011, set for December 1 through 4 in San Diego. Celebrate Shabbat with us there!

Meet Lone Soldiers in Israel - Travelers from United Synagogue-affilited kehillot can meet with a group of English-speaking Lone Soldiers at our Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center. This new program is hosted by the Israel Commission and the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. Email Rabbi Paul Freedman for information.

Mediation/Arbitration Submission Agreement - The committee on congregational standards has prepared a downloadable mediation and arbitration submission agreement for kehilla leaders.

CJ's On Its Way

CJ's In Your Mailbox The spring issue of CJ: Voices of Masorti/Conservative Judaism, will hit people's mailboxes by the first week of June. We'll look at children's services, social activism, and flying while praying, among other things, and we'll throw in a recipe for chicken mojito.

Plant Trees, Grow Your Israel Programming - We are working in partnership with the Jewish National Fund so that when you plant a tree in Israel, programs can bloom at home as well.

An eShiur from the Conservative Yeshiva - The beit midrash at the Conservative Yeshiva, at United Synagogue's Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center has emailed a shiur for Shavuot, which begins this year on the evening of June 7. Called Shavuot: The Day of the Giving of the Torah?, it investigates how the date was established.


Cardinals, Nationals, and USY - United Synagogue's alumni association invites you to join us for dinner, drinks, and baseball at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, on June 15, as the home team faces off against the St. Louis Cardinals. Join us for the gala evening and raise money for USY at the same time. Minimum donation $500 per person; reply to Wendy Glick.

New Directors Institute - Directors of congregational schools who have less than three years of experience are invited to the New Directors Institute. It's three days – June 21 to June 23 – of intensive bonding, workshops, and mentoring at the Pearlstone Conference and Retreat Center outside Baltimore and then a year of conference calls, monthly check-ins, and more mentoring. Learn more, apply, or email educational consultant Susan Wyner to discuss it.

Family Trip to Israel - We know that many congregations offer family-friendly trips to Israel, and they are wonderful. Many congregations, though, do not have the resources to offer such trips, and so we are glad to fill in that gap. United Synagogue proudly offers the Family Israel Experience trip from July 3 to July 14.

Honoring Jules Gutin - As part of USY's 60th birthday celebrations, we honor Jules Gutin in northern New Jersey on September 18. More details to come.

United Synagogue Kallah - We take what used to be the biennial convention and make it into a kallah – an unconventional convention – as we gear up toward Shabbat and then celebrate it with joy, spirit, heart, and mind on December 1-4, 2011, in San Diego, California. Please join us!

Honoring Jackie Saltz - As part of USY's 60th birthday celebrations, we honor Jackie Saltz in La Jolla, California, on December 3, the Saturday night of our convention.

What We've Been Doing

Fuchsberg Visits the Midwest - Rabbi Joel Roth, rosh hayeshiva at the Conservative Yeshiva, part of United Synagogue's Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center, was scholar in residence at 13 synagogues and schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. His final stop was Congregation B'nai Moshe in West Bloomfield, Michigan, his boyhood shul, which was celebrating the start of its second century.

Thanks from Nechama - In response to a donation from United Synagogue for help in dealing with tornado destruction last month, Nechama: Jewish Response to Disaster, sent us a thank-you letter.


USY Summer Programs - Later this month, almost 500 USYers and staff members will begin their USY on Wheels and Israel Pilgrimage trips. This summer's adventures include two new trips, USY on Wheels Pacific Northwest and L'Takayn Olam.

Nativ - Nativ, USY's gap-year college leadership program, just finished its 30th year. It's not too late to apply for school year 2011/12.

International USY Spring Board Meeting - Representatives of USY's 17 regions and its international general and executive boards will meet from June 10 to June 12; participants will learn about what it means to be a USY leader as they celebrate Shabbat together.

USY's International Convention - From Sunday, December 25, to Thursday, December 29, USYers will get together in Philadelphia with incredible ruach, curiosity, hormones, and joy for celebrate the organization's 61st international convention.

USY'S New Website - Come take a look at USY's new website. It's much easier to navigate and easier on the eyes than the old one.

USY at 60

USY is Turning 60!

Save the Dates! - We are pleased to announce the dates of the first two celebrations we plan this year to mark USY's 60th anniversary. We will fete Jules Gutin on September 18 in northern New Jersey, and we will celebrate Jackie Saltz on December 3 in La Jolla, California.

We look forward to watching old friends reconnect, laugh, and remember as we raise scholarship funds to ensure USY's bright future.

Please join us at If you met your husband or wife at USY, please share your story on Facebook – just enter "I Met My Spouse in USY" in the search box.

From Our Book Service

Building a Foundation for Tisha B'Av - Tisha B'Av begins on the evening of August 8. You can begin the study that will lead to it with The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin. $24.95

The Book of Customs by Scott-Martin Kosofsky, inspired by Minhogimbukh, published in 1593, is a comprehensive guide to the rituals, liturgies, and texts for holidays, Shabbatot, and life-cycle events.

Congratulate Your Graduates - See them on to the next phase of their lives with the personal-size editions of Siddur Sim Shalom and Etz Hayim. They're also great gifts for high-schoolers heading off to college.

Siddum Sim Shalom, personal size, softcover, $15 each or $12 each for 10 or more copies. Etz Hayim, personal size, softcover, $30 each or $24 each for 10 or more copies.

The Siddur Tishah B'Av includes the complete service for Tisha b'Av, with Eichah (Lamentations) in Hebrew and English, essays, and both traditional and contemporary poetry. (This year the fast begins on the evening of August 8.) $20; $14 for 50 or more copies.

Luah 5772 - Luah 5772 has been redesigned. As you can see from these sample pages, it is now a full-color, user-friendly booklet that will guide you effortlessly through the Jewish liturgical year. It will be available in June – preorder now! It's $19.95 per copy, $17.95 for five or more copies, plus shipping.

Around the Movement

JTS is Blogging - The Jewish Theological Seminary has begun a blog it is calling Conservative Judaism: A Community Conversation.

Around the Jewish World

More Holocaust Records Digitized - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee has digitized hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs and now offers new access to information about Holocaust survivors. It is a moving and extraordinary collection.

Web Hosting

Take advantage of free Internet hosting services to affiliated synagogues, USY chapters, and afternoon/day schools. We now also can provide your synagogue with a free template CMS website.

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