Sulam for Strategic Planners

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q. What is the goal of Sulam for Strategic Planners (SSP)?
A. SSP is United Synagogue’s leadership initiative to guide congregational leaders through the process of assessing where they are and developing plans to get their kehillot (congregations) to where they aspire to be in the future. SSP’s “Action Community” cohort experiences the process of strategic planning together. In addition to the webinars and resources available to everyone, this “Action Community” (group of strategic planners) offers in-person meetings, coaching calls and specialized materials that help them develop and implement a written strategic plan.

Q: Why sign up for the SSP Action Community?
A: SSP is designed to be a systematic process for kehillot ready to create and implement a strategic plan. SSP provides a structure, timeline, and support for action and follow through. SSP is designed to empower the planning teams, who will own their own process and strategic plan creation.

Q: Who participates in SSP?
A:  All of the members of your strategic planning steering committee (SC) can participate. We encourage you to recruit a core group of 4-6 people, including the following leaders: your rabbi, president, incoming president, two strategic planning committee co-chairs and an executive director (if you have one). Moreover, it is helpful for your SC to include 6 to 8 other leaders, representing different skills, backgrounds, ages and genders.

Q: Who needs to be at the SSP training sessions?
A: Your rabbi and at least one chair must commit to attend the training sessions in order to be selected in the Action Community cohort. We welcome you to send a team of up to 4 people.

Q: What are the desired outcomes of SSP?
A: Planning is designed to produce a set of outcomes. The goal of SSP is for every participating team to create written plans that help your kehilla thrive now and in the future. We also hope that you will be transformed by the process and emerge inspired to focus on the strategies that will make your vision a reality.

Q: What are some of the skills and exercises that will be taught in SSP?
A: During SSP participating leaders will learn to enlist the assistance of a steering committee, to conduct situation and SWOT analysis, to collect data about the congregation through surveys and focus groups, to write mission and vision statements, to develop strategies from the emerging themes from the data. We help you develop task forces based on these strategies and to write a SSP Final Report that will shape the next chapter of your kehilla’s history.

Q: What is the cost of SSP?
A: There is no charge from USCJ for the training sessions, webinars or the resource material for affiliated USCJ kehillot. Meals at training sessions are covered by United Synagogue. Kehillot must budget to cover the travel costs (flights, hotel, etc) of their leaders to go to two in-person training sessions. SSP is only open to USCJ affiliated kehillot in good standing.

Q:  How will my work be supported?
A: There are webinars, reading materials and peer learning that will help you throughout this process. Your kehilla will also be assigned a USCJ Transformation Specialist who will be at your kehilla during key sessions in the process and as a guide throughout your planning journey.

Q: If my kehilla is not ready to apply for the SSP cohort, can we still learn more about strategic planning?
A: Every USCJ kehilla is invited to participate in a “Learning Community” about strategic planning, in which we offer unique new resources, webinars and training exercises for leaders interested in cultivating strategic thinking and elements of planning in their board culture.

To see the list of SSP Pilot “Action Community”, click here.
To learn more about Sulam for Strategic Planning, or any Sulam Leadership offerings, please contact your Kehilla Relationship Manager, call 212-533-7800 or email us at

Find a Kehilla USY Conservative Yeshiva Donate Careers Contact us
Copyright © 2017
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
All rights reserved.
120 Broadway, Suite 1540
New York, NY 10271-0016