Meet the Kehilla Strengthening & Transformation Team
Chief Kehilla Officer
Kathy Elias, USCJ’s chief kehilla officer, is leading the professional team that is building a network of relationship specialists who connect United Synagogue's affiliated kehillot (congregations), with new resources in the areas of leadership development, strategic planning, membership engagement, synagogue operations and finance.
She has been an educator and writer for 35 years, and since 1996 has developed programs and projects in Jewish education, leadership training, and strategic thinking. She has a Master's degree in Jewish Studies and is trained in clinical pastoral education.
Rabbi Charles Savenor
Director of Kehilla (Congregational) Enrichment
Rabbi Charles E. Savenor serves as the Director of Kehilla (Congregational) Enrichment for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). In this role he has overseen the development of Sulam for Emerging Leaders and Sulam for Current Leaders, as well as the reimagining of Sulam for Presidents, USCJ’s premier leadership seminar.
Before this position, he worked as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York District (METNY) of United Synagogue. For the past two summers, Rabbi Savenor has led USCJ's Family Israel Experience.
Rabbi Savenor worked for seven years as the Associate Dean and Director of Admissions of The Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and for five years as the Associate Rabbi of the historic Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago.
A Summa Cum Laude graduate from Brandeis University, Rabbi Savenor was ordained as a rabbi and received a Masters Degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 2008 he earned his Masters of Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College.
He has written articles that have appeared in “Hadassah Magazine,” “The Jewish Week,” “The Boston Jewish Advocate,” “The Chicago Jewish News,” and “CJ Magazine.” Moreover, Rabbi Savenor blogs on parenting at www.familyinorbit.com and www.kveller.com. In addition, he serves as a volunteer fund raiser for Lone Soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces.
A former USY International President in 1987, Rabbi Savenor was recently honored with the USY Alumni Award in December 2012.
He and his wife, Julie, live in New York City with their two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. In addition to rooting for the Boston Red Sox, he enjoys jogging and reading mystery novels.
Bob Leventhal served as sales and marketing executive for O-Cedar Brands and a management consultant. He taught marketing at the University of Dayton. For more than 15 years Bob was a Jewish communal lay leader in Dayton, Ohio. He was a Federation campaign and planning leader and served in leadership roles at the Jewish community center. He was the Midwest chair of the national UJA Young Leadership Cabinet. He was president of the Hillel Academy Jewish day school board. He was a member of the Temple Israel (Reform) and the Beth Abraham (Conservative) congregations.
In 2001 he chose to combine his MBA and his Masters in Jewish Education to create a unique synagogue consulting practice at the Alban Institute in Herndon, Virginia. Alban is a research, publishing and consulting organization that primarily serves mainline Protestant congregations. He has worked with 100’s of congregations and organizations such as the UJA Federation of New York, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Yeshiva University, and UJA federations in Montreal, Toronto, Houston, Northern New Jersey and Palm Beach to name a few.
In January 2012 he became the leadership specialist for the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in New York. He is the author of Byachad: Synagogue Board Development and Stepping Forward: Synagogue Visioning and Planning.
He has raised three boys and was the seventh grade teacher at his synagogue religious school from 1999-2001 — so you know he loves a challenge.