Finding A Spiritual Home: How a New Generation of Jews Can Transform the American Synagogue

by Sidney Schwarz. Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Combining organizational analysis and stories of spiritual journeys, author Sidney Schwarz explains and supports his theory of “synagogue-community” as the future of the American Jewish synagogue. Schwarz provides a historical overview of the American synagogue and Jewish community, sociological research, and practical examples of successful synagogues to shed light on how we can address the needs of the current American Jewish community. Organizational culture, mission, values, and leadership style are analyzed in four synagogues, each from a different denomination (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist). The author’s analysis explains how each synagogue deals with specific community needs and the overall needs of the current American Jewish community. Schwarz includes an epilogue with ten steps toward congregational transformation and a small discussion guide to use in group settings. This book is a strong resource and guide for both synagogue professional staff and boards who are struggling with issues of relevance, membership, and their own transformation to meet community needs.