Reimagining Financial Support and Relational Engagement for Congregations

At a three-day conference held this week at the Intercontinental Chicago O’Hare Hotel, the Union for Reform Judaism officially launched our fourth “community of practice” – congregational networking group – focused on Reimagining Financial Support for Your 21st Century Congregation.

The Chicago gathering allowed congregational staff and lay leadership from 17 participating congregations that are concerned with the financial health and future of their communities to begin to examine the relational model of engagement and its impact on financial support.

During the community of practice’s 24-month cycle, designated representatives from each congregation will come together to explore connections between congregations’ financial support and members’ relational investment in the synagogue community. They’ll also examine opportunities to fund synagogues as well as ways to promote low-barrier engagement within the community.

Members of the URJ Faculty of Expert Practitioners, Rabbi Dan Judson, Dr. Rob Weinberg and Jewish educator and storyteller Marilyn Price worked with participants on understanding the history of financial support and the many ways to implement that support in congregations; creating a culture of change in their congregations and how to discuss the importance of financial support with individuals in the Jewish community.

“In bringing together leaders from significant congregations with experts in synagogue funding and transformation to delve deeply into the connection between engagement and financial support, we will find new models to benefit Reform congregations and the Jewish people as a whole,” said Vicky Farhi, co-director of the URJ’s Expanding Our Reach.

The following congregations participated in the inaugural event:

  • Temple Emanu-El (Tucson, AZ)
  • Congregation Shir Hadash (Los Gatos, CA)
  • Congregation Sherith Israel (San Francisco, CA)
  • Temple Judea (Tarzana, CA)
  • Congregation B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim (Deerfield, IL)
  • Beth Emet the Free Synagogue (Evanston, IL)
  • Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Congregation B’nai Jehudah (Overland Park, KS)
  • Beth Israel Congregation (Jackson, MS)
  • Temple Ner Tamid (Bloomfield, NJ)
  • Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester (Chappaqua, NY)
  • Congregation Beth Tikvah (Worthington, OH)
  • Temple Beth-El (Providence, RI)
  • Beth El Hebrew Congregation (Alexandria, VA)
  • Temple Beth El (Madison, WI)
  • Temple Sinai (Washington D.C.)
  • Moses Montefiore Congregation (Bloomington, IL)