Jun 8, 2010

USCJ/HaYom Strategic Planning Commission Update

Dear Chevreh,  

Please see below for a joint letter from Dr. Jacob Finkelstein and Rabbi Ed Feinstein (Co-Chairs of the USCJ/HaYom Strategic Planning Commission), along with a weblink to the Hayom page on the ShefaNetwork site and its parallel site on the USCJ page, as well as a downloadable pdf "Hayom Reader", with relevant excerpts from previous ShefaJournals.  Please also look through the attachments, which are archived on both sites, as they contain information and invitations to get involved in this vision-process.

It is our hope that, given the urgency of this economic/sociological moment, as well as the expressed commitment of the USCJ to respond to congregations' calls for a new kind of a movemental "institution for kehilot/communities", we will together realize that better day Hayom – Today!

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
-- www.netivotshalom.org
-- www.shefanetwork.org

An Update from Dr. Jacob Finkelstein and Rabbi Ed Feinstein, 

Co-Chairs USCJ/HaYom Strategic Planning Commission

Dear Congregational Leader,

The United Synagogue-HaYom Strategic Planning Commission is committed to fully engaging the leadership of our kehillot in our collective effort to build sacred community. In that spirit, we invite you to join our conversation about the how to reshape United Synagogue's future. Over the past several months we have created a draft profile of United Synagogue and the context within which it operates, including the situation of Conservative kehillot in our generation. From these studies we have created a working draft of a vision and mission statement.

A summary of the draft profile and a copy of the vision and mission statement are available for your review at www.uscj.org/4tomorrow or through the Shefa Network at www.shefanetwork.org. You also will find questions to consider as part of our "clean paper" exercise. We invite you to participate in this exercise with us. Consider the new vision and mission statement. What are the organizational models by which it might best be accomplished? Please send all comments to us at 4tomorrow@uscj.org with the word Mission in the subject line or via the Shefa Network.

Please note the following:

  • The working draft of our vision and mission statement is just that, a working draft. It is designed to guide us in our work in imagining a new model for United Synagogue. It is intended to be fluid until the strategic plan is completed and accepted by United Synagogue's board of directors and general assembly.
  • We expect to receive many comments and we will not be able to respond to every one of them. Instead, we will categorize and summarize them so we can use them most effectively in our deliberations and decision-making process. We also will include highlights of your insights in our monthly updates, which will be issued the second week of every month, beginning in July.

On June 28 at 8p.m. we will host an e-seminar, where Drs. Jack Ukeles and Steven Cohen will present an update of our status and provide additional guidance for the clean paper exercise. Rabbi Michael Siegel and Dr. Jack Finkelstein also will be available to answer questions and receive your comments and suggestions. This e-seminar is open to 100 participants, so we encourage congregational leaders to gather around a single computer terminal if they possibly can to allow as many people as possible to participate. We will record the e-seminar for those unable to participate and for further reference. To register, please send an email to operations@uscj.org with the word Webinar in the subject line and include the name of your kehillah, the number of membership units, its city and state, and the name and position of the participants. We will email you access information about a week before the seminar.

The commission's next steps include the completion of a study of the relationship of United Synagogue's program revenue and cost to mission, an analysis of the clean paper exercise, and developing a draft organizational model for United Synagogue. The commission is scheduled to meet in June, August, and October, and our goal is to complete our task by late fall 2010.


Dr. Jacob Finkelstein and Rabbi Ed Feinstein 
USCJ/HaYom Strategic Planning Commission