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USCJ eNews: The United Synagogue Electronic Bulletin

June/July 2012

In This Issue:

What's New for You

Operation Tent of Abraham and Sarah - Operation Tent of Abraham and Sarah, national United Synagogue initiative, launches at June 5 press conference at 820. Operation Tent of Abraham and Sarah, demonstrates our support for Pastor Corey Brooks and the Walk Across America to End Violence by offering hospitality and a pulpit from which to preach as he makes his way across the country. With nearly 650 congregations nationwide that serve 200,000 households and represent one million people, USCJ encourages Conservative Jews to join the march, including teens from the United Synagogue Youth on Wheels summer program. To follow the walk, click here.

United Synagogue Board Rallies to Fund KOACH - USCJ undertakes new fundraising effort; and calls for the creation of a consortium made up of key movement stakeholders whose task it is to address the core issue of drawing up a comprehensive strategy to secure the presence of Conservative Judaism on campus. Matters under discussion include a new marketing plan for KOACH, the re-articulation of its vision and central messages, the creation of a new operation model and a new budget.

Sulam for Emerging Leaders - After a successful pilot with 14 kehillot (congregations), United Synagogue is excited to launch Sulam for Emerging Leaders for all of North America. Intended to rebuild your local leadership pipeline, this six-part program targets members of your kehilla who have not yet stepped into governance positions. SEL is an engagement opportunity that deepens participants' commitment and connection to their kehillot as it builds their personal Jewish growth, knowledge, and leadership skills. An informational teleconference took place on Wednesday, June 13th, to review the program and to answer any questions. You can listen to a recording of the call here. Applications are due on Friday, June 29th.If you have any questions, please contact Rabbi Charles Savenor at kehilla@uscj.org or at 212-533-0800.

Sulam for Current Leaders - On Wednesday, July 18, the Kehilla Strengthening and Transformation Department presents the sixth Sulam for Current Leaders webinar, The Volunteer Development Plan. It's set for noon eastern daylight savings time. This webinar is a training session for facilitators and kehilla leaders who will implement the workshop in their own local kehillot. Register for the webinar here.

"Stellar and Visionary" Educators Join United Synagogue Staff - As part of its ongoing revitalization effort, USCJ is thrilled to announce the hiring of two new professionals to "820" – our New York headquarters – who will further the mission and scope of our organization as we heads toward our Centennial Celebration in October 2013 and beyond. They are Rabbi Jim Rogozen as the new Chief Learning Officer and Rabbi David Levy as the Director of Teen Learning.

Conservative Leaders at the White House - Rabbi Steven Wernick was part of a group of professional and lay leaders of the Conservative movement that held an informal meeting on May, 29 with President Obama. The president stopped by during a scheduled meeting with Jack Lew, the white house chief of staff.

New Demographics Emerged in NYC Jewish Community Study 2011 - Changes noted among Jews who affiliate with Conservative Judaism. Click to read about the study.

February 2, 2013: A date for Your Kehilla's Calendar - February 3, 2013 is the 70th anniversary of the sinking by German forces of the U.S. Army troopship, the USAT Dorchester, during World War II. Many survivors told the story of the four U.S. Army Chaplains onboard that ship – one Catholic Priest, two Protestant Ministers, and one Rabbi – who died when the ship went down, after each gave his lifejacket to save someone else onboard. See www.fourchaplains.org. The United Synagogue, in partnership with the Rabbinical Assembly, will be providing information and support for 4 Chaplains' Shabbat. Hold the date and information will be coming.

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What We've Been Doing

The 57th Annual Pinwheel Regional Convention - After a whirlwind year of successful kinnusim and gatherings, USY's Pinwheel region summed up the 2011-2012 school year with a bang. Convening at the Holiday Inn in Renton, Washington, seventy-five Pinwheelers, youth staff and a welcome group of eighth grade Kadimaniks from across the Pacific Northwest prayed, sang, ate, voted, studied, raised money for tzedakah, and had an enormous amount of fun together.

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Preparing for the High Holidays

Sh'ma, an independent think tank, is offering a special High Holiday issue focused on the book of Yonah for only $1.00/COPY. The issue will provide a great texts to study, including pieces on spiritual direction, loneliness, prophesy and democracy, revisioning Judaism, biblical imagery and contemporary literature, talking to children about being swallowed by a fish, metaphor and belief, and much more. You will also receive an advance PDF copy to help you prepare your drashot. And with purchase of 100 copies for your synagogue, receive a free one year subscription to Sh'ma. Orders can be placed until June 30th for delivery to your synagogue by September 21st. Email for more information.

Find A High Holiday Cantor - It's not too early to look for a cantor for the high holy days, or for cantors to find a kehilla that requires their services. We can get you started; we also can help with placement for other Jewish professionals.

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Camp Hazak - From June 28 to July 5, people 55 and over are invited to Camp Hazak in Block and Hexter Vacation Center in Poyntelle, Pennsylvania, for three daily lectures, arts and crafts, boating, shuffleboard, swimming (in a heated pool), entertainment every evening, and good food at every meal. It’s everything your kids had at summer camp – and then some. For information or to register, email Jo-Anne Tucker-Zemlak.

Family Trip to Israel - Join Rabbi Charles Savenor, our director of kehilla enrichment, and his wife, Julie Walpert, on a multigenerational trip to Israel from July 30 to August 10. The trip can include the celebration of a bar or bat mitzvah ceremony; it costs $3,800 per person.

USY International Convention - United Synagogue Youth’s next convention is set for December 23-27 in Boston. Email for more information.

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USY Summer Programs - Nearly 500 USYers and staff will depart for USY on Wheels and USY Israel Pilgrimage later this month. For six weeks, USYers will cross North America, Europe and Israel as they explore all of the wonderful sights and sounds as a travelling Jewish community. We wish them all a safe and enjoyable journey!

Nativ - Nativ, the college leadership program in Israel, just concluded its 31st year.. The program includes academic university classes, intensive Hebrew classes, Judaic and yeshiva studies, and innovative leadership training.

Voices of Nativ - Students on Nativ, our gap-year program that's headquartered at the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center, made a video for Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut.

International USY Spring Board Meeting - Representatives from USY's 17 regions and the international general and executive boards will meet June 7-10. The leaders will spend a full day and Shabbat studying and learning together about what it means to be a USY leader and how they will be able to serve their regions and chapters for the coming year.

International Convention in Boston - Registration is now open for USY's 62nd annual international convention will be in Boston from Sunday, December 23, to Thursday, December 27. International Convention is a unique opportunity for Jewish teens from all over North America to enjoy exciting activities with a blend of education, social action, and fun. From Giant Human Twister to USY's Amazing Race, each day will be more packed than the day before. In addition to the activities directly related to the convention theme of God and Spirituality, there will be leadership workshops meetings dealing with a wide variety of topics including Israel, communications, social action programming and learning. In addition, convention delegates will elect new officers to the 2013 USY International Executive Board. Deposits are being accepted now. For more information, go to usy.org/ic or feel free to email us at usyconvention@uscj.org.

Tikum Olam Contribution Cards - Support USY and our Tikun Olam tzedakah fund by using our cards to celebrate a simcha or send condolences. Cards come in a package of 10; a package costs $18. To order, send a check payable to USY Tikun Olam to USY Tikun Olam Cards, 820 2nd Avenue, 10th Floor, NY NY 10017.

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USY at 60

Back to the Beginning - USY was born 60 or so years ago in Minneapolis/Saint Paul. USY@60 will recognize that birthplace in the fall at Temple Beth el with dinner, dancing, and remembering. Please note that the date has been changed, but the intention is the same. In the meantime, we welcome your ads. And if you have photos, please send them!

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From the Conservative Yeshiva

Find Yourself in the Heart of Jerusalem - The Conservative Yeshiva, part of our Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center, offers Jews of all ages and backgrounds the chance to study classic Jewish texts in a vibrant, open-minded, egalitarian community. Study can be full- or part-time, for a short or a long time.

Leadership Scholarships - There are a few Leadership Scholarships available for the 2012-13 academic year; they provide free tuition and a stipend for living expenses. Applications are being accepted now; email the yeshiva’s associate director, Rabbi Gail Diamond, for more information.

Summer Programs at the Yeshiva - The Conservative Yeshiva's summer programs offer intensive Hebrew and Jewish text study for students on all levels. Session I is July 1 to July 19, and Session II is July 22 to August 9; the sessions do not repeat. The program includes five levels of Hebrew ulpan, advanced Talmud study, classes in rabbinic texts, Tanach, tefillah, and halacha. Students can study all day or they can spend half a day at the Volunteer and Study program, which is run in cooperation with Skilled Volunteers for Israel. Email Rabbi Gail Diamond for more information or an application.

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At the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center

Tikun Layl Shavuot at the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center - More than 300 people came to the Fuchsberg Center to study from 10:30 pm until 4 am. Sessions were offered by Rabbi Joel Roth, Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Rabbi Ed Romm, and three Ziegler rabbinical students; Howard Tilman, Jessica Kendler and Scott Westle who spent the year studying at the Conservative Yeshiva and helped with campus programs for overseas students. At 4 am the numbers swelled as people gathered at Fuchsberg to walk down to the Kotel for T'fillot organized by the Masorti Movement. The Tikun was preceded by a festive open house Shavuot dinner for overseas students.

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From Our Book and Media Center

What does it mean to be a good Jew? - The Observant Life provides a comprehensive and up-to-date answer to this age-old question. The contributors explain what it means in the ultimate sense to live a Jewish life and to live it honestly, morally, and purposefully.

Build a Foundation for Tishah B'Av - To commemorate Tishah B'Av, USCJ Book and Media Center suggests the Siddur Tishah B'Av. This softcover text contains the complete service for Erev Tishah B'Av and Tishah B'Av. In addition to Eikhah (in Hebrew and English), essays and traditional and contemporary poetry are offered to further explore the meaning and observance of the day.

Expand Tishah B'Av study with The Tapestry of Jewish Time. A beautiful handbook to guide you through the year, the chapter on Tishah B'Av provides rabbinic anecdotes, historical contexts, and personal reflections.

Congratulate Your Graduates - Two portable volumes accompany your graduates as they get ready for the next chapters in their lives. The personal size editions of Siddur Sim Shalom and Etz Hayim make great gifts for high-schoolers moving on to college, to a year in Israel, or to other life adventures.

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Around the Conservative/Masorti World

Israeli government to pay Non-Orthodox Rabbis - The Israeli government's attorney general recently advised the supreme court that up to 15 Masorti and Reform rabbis in non-Orthodox communities will begin to receive wages. Before this decision, only Orthodox rabbis were recognized and paid. This decision will not affect rabbis in cities where most of the Masorti and Reform congregations are located.

In response, Rabbi Steven Wernick, United Synagogue's CEO and executive vice president, and Richard Skolnik, international president, issued the following statement today: "We welcome this first step towards greater religious pluralism in Israel. We support it fully and look forward to participating with colleagues and supporters in North America, Israel and around the world for furthering the rights of all Jewish religious expression."

The 13th annual Masorti Women's Study Day - On June 22, Masorti women from across Israel will be in Jerusalem at the Schechter Institutes for the 13th annual Masorti Women's Study Day. The study day is dedicated to the memory of our beloved teacher and friend, Rabbi Monique Susskind Goldberg (z"l). The theme "Monique's Legacy to Us -The Power to Overcome" reflects Rabbi Monique's great courage and accomplishments despite severe handicaps. The Study Day is in a four language format offering eight to nine subjects per hour in three rounds with a professional staff primarily from The Schechter Institute but also includes lecturers from Bar Ilan university and The American Jewish University in Los Angeles. The Study Day which is sponsored by Women's League for Conservative Judaism, the Schechter Institute, the Dorot Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Chicago and with the cooperation and help of the Masorti movement, is under the direction of Diane Friedgut with the guidance of Prof. Alice Shalvi.

Conservative rabbis approve same-sex marriage ceremonies - The Rabbinical Assembly's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards voted to provide Conservative rabbis with guidelines on performing same-sex marriages. In response, Rabbi Steven Wernick, United Synagogue's CEO and executive vice president, and Richard Skolnik, international president, issued the following statement: “We welcome this first step towards greater religious pluralism in Israel. We support it fully and look forward to participating with colleagues and supporters in North America, Israel and around the world for furthering the rights of all Jewish religious expression."

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Around the Jewish World

Be the Match - The right match is the difference between life and death for many people suffering from diseases that can be cured only with bone marrow transplants. Often, the right match for a Jew is another Jew. All you have to do to begin the process is a simple swab of your cheek. Register from your computer. Be the match.

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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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Two Minute Torah

Got two minutes? Get some Torah! Enjoy our weekly podcast and sign up for email alerts. www.koach.org.

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