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Monday, June 25, 2018

(Courtesy of JFGMW) Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ is committed to building relationships with and among the more than 80 synagogues in our region in order to create a more vibrant Jewish life in our community. As part of this effort, the Synagogue Leadership Council was developed to provide direction and guidance. The council is chaired by Mariela Dybner and comprises synagogue leaders from a cross section of denominations and counties in Greater MetroWest.

The primary program of the Council is a series of Synagogue Leadership Seminars for synagogue leaders that seek to address common concerns. Each session includes a presentation by a guest speaker and plenty of time for discussion and the sharing of ideas.

The first seminar of this year, which took place just prior to Rosh Hashanah, addressed the topic of synagogue security. Due to a recent rise in anti-Semitic incidents around the country, this topic was of particular interest leading up to the High Holidays. Speakers included Federation’s new Chief Security Officer Robert Wilson and Jared Maples, acting director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, among others.

The second seminar, on synagogue finance, was led by Andi Robik, budget director at the Union for Reform Judaism, and a synagogue past president and finance vice president. The enthusiastic discussion at this workshop motivated attendees to create a new group that will allow them to continue the conversation and sharing of ideas among synagogue finance lay leaders.

These first two events were attended by representatives from 24 synagogues throughout Greater MetroWest.

The next seminar, Recharge Your Special Events, will take place on Wednesday, December 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the JCC of Central NJ in Scotch Plains. The speaker will be Laurie Earp, a longtime fundraiser and event planner. She will discuss how to set realistic goals, increase return on investment and avoid volunteer fatigue. Synagogue leaders can register at www.jfedgmw.org/specialevents. The remaining seminars for the year include Fundraising and Membership Recruitment, Orientation and Engagement.

This year the council has broadened its purpose beyond planning and evaluating seminars and is now looking at additional ways to strengthen the relationship between Federation and synagogues and to better communicate with synagogues and their congregants the multitude of opportunities Federation provides to them.

“Federation is in a unique position to serve as community convener, bringing synagogue leaders together to address common challenges and goals, but also to help broaden awareness of Federation within synagogues so the two can work collaboratively to promote local Jewish life,” Dybner said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the coming years.”

For more information about the Synagogue Leadership Seminars or other ways that Federation partners with local synagogues, contact Sarah Segal, manager of synagogue initiatives, at [email protected] or 973-929-2952.