Developing New Synagogue Leaders

Finding and developing the next generation of Jewish leaders is a key challenge, and that’s why Daniel Naftol, president of Temple Beth Elohim of Old Bethpage, says his synagogue is one of five congregations participating in a pilot program created by SYNERGY: UJA-Federation of New York and Synagogues Together.

“I need a little bit of a road map on how to get more people involved,” Naftol says.

This innovative program enables congregations to put in place a structured approach for cultivating committed and energized lay leaders. It’s one of a number of SYNERGY training programs designed to help synagogues in such areas as financial sustainability, social media, and planned giving.

Among the goals of Building the Leadership Pipeline: Talent Identification and Development are recruiting candidates, understanding key underlying principles for developing leaders, and managing and monitoring the leadership cultivation process. “We’ve developed a strategy, a plan, and a curriculum that they will want to use,” says Gayle Bloom, SYNERGY project manager. “Synagogues have to reach new people, identify their talents, and engage them in the right position.”The other participating congregations are: Larchmont Temple, Merrick Jewish Centre, North Country Reform Temple, and Prospect Heights Shul.Included in the program are an introductory one-hour webinar and a half-day workshop that show participants how to establish an action plan for selecting and developing future leaders. Conference calls provide coaching and ongoing implementation support. “Every congregation has an issue of getting people to step up,” adds Naftol. “This program whets my appetite for finding the blueprint that will identify future leaders for my congregation.”

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