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Synagogue Leadership Conference 2010

On March 17, 2010, METNY held its annual Synagogue Leadership Conference.

To download the 2010 Synagogue Leadership Conference Program, click here.

Scroll down or click on a link below to read summaries of and download the materials from our presentations:

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Building on Our Success

by Rabbi Charles Savenor, METNY Executive Director
The theme of this evening is “building on our successes,” which is appropriate in light of the progress we have made this past year. The question is where do we go from here?

Building on Our Success

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Developing a Winning Youth Program: Learning from HERJC USY, International Chapter of the Year

One of our major successes this past year has been Hewlett East Rockaway Jewish Centre being named International Chapter of the Year by USY. In order to gain a better understanding of the ingredients necessary for creating a successful chapter, we asked different members of the synagogue leadership to sit on a panel and share with us their insights. This panel, facilitated by Youth Commission Co-Chair Janet Faber Cooperman, consisted of the Youth Director, Todd Hausman; HERJC’s rabbi, Andrew Warmflash; Youth Chair, Sandy Feit; and Synagogue President, Dan Gerstman. It was immediately clear that each person had an important role to play in the success of the chapter. Some of the major concepts discussed were creating exciting programming, putting the youth program on your rabbis’ agenda, creating a successful youth commission and integrating the youth programs into greater synagogue life. Each member of the panel brought a unique perspective to the task of building a successful program. Most importantly, it was clear that many of the items that made them successful can be replicated in other synagogues. This was an amazing presentation and an inspiration for people that care about our youth.

The USY Tree

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“Building Our Jewish Home:” METNY’s Success in Early Childhood Education Can Be Yours

Building Our Jewish Home reaches out to families with nursery-school-aged children and helps young parents to feel more fully at home within the Jewish community and more comfortable taking an active role in their children’s Jewish education. Synagogues can reach this key demographic by planning welcoming, accessible family-education events that give families a chance to have fun together, make new friends, and learn something at the same time. It’s important to keep these events family-friendly and “low-barrier” so that people with all different levels of Jewish knowledge can participate.

Synagogue Leadership Conference Presentation Packet Cover Page
Don’t Put All Your Hamantaschen in One Basket Event Flyer
Don’t Put All Your Hamantaschen in One Basket Event Packet
Tot Shabbat Flyer
Noah’s Ark Live Event Flyer
Noah’s Ark Live Event Packet
Parenting with Heart and Soul Event Flyer
Pesach Family Resource Packet
PJ Havdalah Event Handout
Outreach Tips

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All Hands on Deck: Volunteer Engagement with Lasting Impact

This session, the most-attended of the evening, focused on what could arguably be identified as the lifeblood of any congregation: its volunteers. Barry Mael, the Chief Service Delivery Officer of USCJ, shared tips and strategies for not only how to find volunteers, but how to support them in their work. Participants left with a greater sense of how to work with the volunteers in their congregations.

“Getting to Know You”: Using Membership Forms to Gather Pertinent Information
Member Involvement Inventory
Rules for Successful Volunteer Recruitment, Development and Retention
Volunteers, God Bless Them
Why People Accept Leadership Positions
Worth Their While: “Compensating Volunteers”

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HAZAK: Programming That Stimulates Seniors and Creates Community

The session was facilitated by Carol Turoff and Jeff Horowitz, METNY HAZAK co-chairpeople.

The presentations were by Jo-Anne Tucker-Zemlak , the national director of HAZAK and the Assistant Director of the Southeast-Seaboard District of the USCJ. She was joined by Bill Berkowitz the founder and moving force of the HAZAK chapter at the Bellmore Jewish Center. Bellmore was selected as the HAZAK program to receive the Solomon Schechter Award at the USCJ 2009 Biennial.

Jo-Anne shared the history of the initiation and development of HAZAK by the USCJ visionary Dr. Morton K. Siegel. She explained how chapters are formed, how regional events occur, how a regional board guides events and how she is in “touch” with all of the chapters throughout North America with conference calls several times a year.

The program evolved as followed:

1. meeting the need of the senior population for social events, for working for the synagogue, for expanding their intellectual horizons, for travel, and especially for building social connections.
2. responding to the need by having a core of people who will dedicate themselves to creating the gatherings
3. actually creating the programs by listening to the attendees interests
4. connecting the programs beyond the bounds of the Jewish community through publicity

Bill brought copies of programs which can be emulated and contacts which are available to NY State residents. A critical factor in getting started was the USCJ HAZAK Manual which gave him ideas, material, P.R.

Jo-Anne completed the session with encouragement to have seniors attend the HAZAK Spring/Summer Retreat June 30th to July 7th at the Block and Hexter Senior Retreat Center in the Poconos. And, invited any one, chapter or not, to come with HAZAK to Israel this November 2010 or March 2011.

Request for HAZAK Chapter Charter
Mama’s Loshn Kugel Color Flyer
Mama’s Loshn Kugel B&W Flyer
HAZAK Journey to Israel Flyer
Speakers in the Humanities Example Flyer
Bellmore Jewish Center’s HAZAK Example Event Flyer and Program Schedule and Ideas 1
Bellmore Jewish Center’s HAZAK Program Schedule and Ideas 2
Bellmore Jewish Center’s HAZAK Program Schedule and Ideas 3

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“Religious School for All”: Synagogues are Places of Inclusion by Default and Not by Design

After being awarded a Butler Grant, METNY and MATAN: Jewish Learning IS for Every Child began a partnership working with the synagogues in Queens helping them explore their current practices regarding special needs congregants and students and where they would like to go. In the opening keynote by Rabbi Daniel Grossman a broader definition of the word ACCESS was presented: physical, emotional and educational. Congregations were encouraged and supported as they completed a goals assessment activity in order to set out realistic expectations for their individual institutions.

A number of challenges have surfaced as a result of this process. First and foremost is the size of the school. Very often in a smaller school the educational leaders fulfills other roles such as Rabbi or classroom teacher. Addressing the challenges of special needs students puts yet another responsibility on that single individual. The second issue that surfaced is the profound need for professional development for teachers and the expectations that the teachers are compensated for their time. Teachers are more than willing expand their own teaching skills and strategies but believe that they should be compensated for their learning.

Short Circuit Your Brain Activity
“Religious School for All” 2009-2010 Timeline
Inclusion Statement Examples
Synagogue Goal-Setting Handout
Hebrew School Goal-Setting Handout

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Barukh HaBa: How We Make Our Synagogues Welcoming

“Baruch Ha’ba, OJC-style!” Outline
Circles of Committment

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Technology and Social Media

The “Technology and Social Media” session focused on finding the best vehicles for a synagogue to extend the boundaries of community as well as showcase their offerings to all. Since virtual communities are fixture in our society, we discussed websites, Facebook, Twitter and Skype and how to use them most effectively. Our presentation emphasized that congregations need to select find the right medium for them and make it excellent. We are grateful to Steve Katz and Howard Goldberg, who developed the excellent handouts below.

Using Technology and Social Media to Build Synagogue Communities
USCJ Teleconference: Twenty-First Century Communications
Modern Communication and the Synagogue Family

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Understanding Contracts: What Your Synagogue Needs to Know About Human Resources in 2010

The session was facilitated by METNY VP Joel Cutler.

The USCJ has prepared a new and vital document entitled GUIDE TO CONTRACT NEGOTIATION under the auspices of the Committee on Congregational Practice. The committee’s staff director for the past 15 years has been Rabbi Moshe Edelman and the current chair is Ed Rudofsky.

Rabbi Edelman made some introductory comments about the work of the committee in areas of conflict resolution and the process of mediation and arbitration which is offered as a service of the USCJ to congregations and all organizations of the Conservative Movement.

Ed Rudofsky focused on specific sections of the new document especially dealing with Jewish values, working in partnership with clergy and professionals, the importance of citing inclusions and even exclusions in developing a contract. He responded to the questions and engaged in a meaningful dialogue with the attendees.

The Role of the Synagogue Board in the Employment of the Rabbi
Guide to Contractual Relations

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Let’s Talk Tachlis: Real Solutions for Real Problems

In Let’s Talk Tachlis, facilitated by Dave Siegel, the Interim Director of Youth Activities, the group not only identified key issues facing our youth programs, but began creating concrete solutions to solve them. The first half of the session consisted of discussing the responsibilities and expectations of the METNY Region, our four divisions and our chapters. The participants, consisting of individuals of all different youth experience and professional backgrounds, brought new ideas to how we can best serve our constituents. During the second half of the session, the group identified some of the key issues facing our youth programs today. Using this as our inspiration, we broke into small groups to brainstorm solutions, best practices and next steps. Some of the topics discussed were communication and management information systems, budgets and fundraising, and marketing and promotion. Using our past experiences and successes, we were able to create real solutions for the future.

USY/Kadima Organizational Structure

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