Jump-starting a Synagogue Stimulus Plan

by Sid Schwarz. The Jewish Week, November 19, 2013. Accessed April 14, 2017.

This article captures the thinking of Rabbi Sid Schwarz concerning the challenges facing synagogues in the United States. Rabbi Schwarz is the director of the Clergy Leadership Incubator (CLI), a program sponsored by Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, training visionary spiritual leaders for the American Jewish community. He is also the author of “Jewish Megatrends: Charting the Course of the American Jewish Community” (Jewish Lights). This short article includes ideas regarding making synagogues vital. For instance, synagogues should consider reducing by 25 percent the time their rabbi needs to lead services. In other words, he advocates for more lay involvement. If your synagogue is considering a planning experience, or a redevelopment effort, this short article could serve as a discussion starter. Schwarz’s ideas won’t be right for every synagogue, but his ideas will serve as an introduction to the longer conversations that could and should follow as a synagogue considers its future.