Mar 27, 2009

an invitation to join HaYom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism (inline and attached)

HaYom: The Coalition for the Transformation of Conservative Judaism


Dear Hevre:

The Hayom Coalition is made up of the leadership of congregations across the United States and Canada for the purpose of transforming the United Synagogue and ultimately the Conservative Movement.   While there are large numbers of creative and well functioning congregations of all sizes that exemplify the very best of our approach to Jewish life, there is also a sense that we are failing as a movement.  We launched the Hayom Coalition (see full list of names below) out of a true sense of urgency:  the time to act is now.  Our name was chosen to convey the notion that the work that we undertake cannot wait until tomorrow!   We are certain that synagogues and their leadership have the power to not only challenge the institutional structure of the Conservative Movement, but to bring our considerable resources, creativity and expertise to bear in order to effect real and lasting change.  As a first step, 25 large congregations were chosen based upon the size of their dues obligation in order to create a climate in which the leaders of the USCJ would come to the table quickly and begin a dialogue.   Now that our initial meeting has taken place, we invite all congregations that affiliate with the Conservative Movement to join in this effort. A serious conversation about the future of our movement is taking place and we want all of the constituencies of our movement to be represented.

 At this challenging moment, we need to have a synagogue organization that truly speaks to the needs of our congregations and community on every level, both here and in Israel.  What should the synagogue look like?  How can it best be supported and promoted?  How do we seed new congregations?  How do we reach the many people who could be part of our movement but do not find their way in? How can we re-engineer ourselves based upon new approaches that are emerging in the Jewish world?  The members of the Hayom Coalition believe that the answers to these questions and many others will be found in a dynamic partnership between the heads of our institutions and the leadership of our synagogues. I am pleased that Rabbi Menachem Creditor has volunteered to help further develop the Hayom Coalition.  

On Thursday March 19th, the initial members of the Hayom Coalition met with the leadership of the USCJ in New York.  The meeting was serious, candid and positive.  Our group made it clear that we see ourselves as stake holders in the USCJ and that we feel a true sense of urgency.   More importantly we intend to partner with the leadership of the USCJ on every level.  We are asking that:

·        A strategic planning committee be put together immediately and have one year to complete its work.

·        the process be transparent in every way and  seek input from leadership and grassroots

·         a professional be hired to manage the process

·        clear benchmarks and timelines be established

·        the USCJ give us an answer within 30 days of the meeting

Finally, the congregations involved have committed $25,000.00 to begin this vital effort.   It is imperative that this national conversation have a good cross section of synagogues, and the benefit of their leadership and perspectives. We envision an inclusive process of gathering ideas, data, and feedback, not only for the benefit of our strategic plan, but also to bring us closer together for the ultimate renewal of our movement.    

If you and your congregation are interested in joining us we ask that you include the President of your congregation.     In addition, we ask that a monetary contribution be made to Hayom in order to help in this effort.  The initial larger congregations are each committing 1000.00; depending on the size of your congregation and its means, we would suggest a contribution anywhere between $250.00 and $1000.00.  We will use these monies to fund, in conjunction with the USCJ the type of long range plan that our movement so richly deserves.  Please send your name, email, as well as the name of your appointed lay person, and that of your congregation to Antoinette Nuňez, my Administrative Assistant, at 

Friends, this is an urgent moment in our history, together we can seize the day!   



Michael Siegel             




Rabbi Richard Camras

Barry Wolfe


Rabbi Mark Cooper

Barry Bearg

Peter Drucker

Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove

Steven M. Friedman


Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Jeff Rosenbloom


Rabbi Alexander Davis

Marshall Lehman


Rabbi Ed Feinstein

Andrew Hyman


Rabbi Wayne Franklin

Nathan Beraha


Rabbi Baruch Frydman Kohl



Rabbi Bill Gershon

Hylton Jonas


Rabbi Felipe Goodman

David Steinberg


Rabbi Bill Hamilton

Noah Roffman


Rabbi David Kalender

Edward Weiss


Rabbi Joseph Krakoff

Brian Hermelin


Rabbi Harold Kravitz

Judy Cook


Rabbi Alan Lucas

Susan Zelman


Rabbi Jack Moline

Evelina Moulder


Rabbi Joel Rembaum

Diane Shapiro


Rabbi David Rosen

Stuart Wilson


Rabbi Phil Scheim

Carrie Orfus Gelkopf


Rabbi Michael Siegel

Jay Goodgold


Rabbi Alan Silverstein

Bill Lipsey


Rabbi Barry Starr

Arthur Spar


Rabbi David Steinhardt

Roger Leavy

Fred Weiss

Rabbi Gordon Tucker

Mark Zeichner


Rabbi Steve Weiss

Dick Myers


Rabbi Irvin Wise

Nina Paul


Rabbi David Wolpe

Kurt Smalberg


Rabbi David Glanzberg-Krainin

Fred Wolfson


Hazzan Jacob Ben Zion Mendelson



Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi



Hazzan David Propis