There are more than 90 synagogues in our Greater MetroWest community – small and large, established and new, spanning all denominations – and we take our relationship with each and every one of them very seriously. I had a terrific meeting with many of our synagogue rabbis last week, along with my colleague Jerry Silverman, the CEO of our umbrella partner, the Jewish Federations of North America.
These synagogues are the religious hubs of the community… the places that bring Jews together to worship, to socialize, to learn, and so much more. But synagogues can’t be islands unto themselves. They all share challenges in membership, fundraising, security, meeting the varied needs of their congregants, and so on, and can greatly benefit from collaboration, a sharing of ideas. And that’s where Federation comes in.
We’ve launched a number of programs and initiatives this last year to provide support for our community’s synagogues:
- We’ve hosted ten programs specifically for synagogue leaders (board members, staff, and clergy) through the Synagogue Leadership Initiative (SLI) and have more planned for this spring. You can read more about SLI here.
- Ten synagogues participated in the first cohort of our Jewish Community Foundation’s “Create a Jewish Legacy” (CJL) program, securing millions of dollars in legacy gift commitments toward their future financial well-being. Four more synagogues have begun the process as part of CJL’s second cohort. Read more about CJL here.
- Forty synagogues signed on as community partners for MetroPass in 2015 to offer complementary High Holiday tickets to 195 newcomers to Greater MetroWest. We’ll be offering this service again in 2016. It’s a great message of inclusion and welcoming.
- We’ve guided ten synagogues to become ABLE Awarded Partners – meaning that the’ve committed themselves and taken the steps required to become more inclusive and accessible to all members of the community, including those with special needs. Read more about Greater MetroWest ABLE here.
- Our Rishonim and Shlichim (young Israeli emissaries) are out in the synagogues every day, bringing Israel to life for our kids.
- Through our Community Relations Committee, 25 congregations are involved in the End-Hunger Initiative working on education, advocacy, and activism about food insecurity in New Jersey and 20 rabbis are participating in the Interfaith Partners for Peace program.
These are just a few of the formal initiatives we have developed, but I know that there’s much more that Federation and our synagogues do together, both formally and informally. And so much more that we can do together to cultivate our strong, caring Jewish community. In the coming months we’ll look to even more ways.
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