Sulam for Strategic Planners (SSP) is a new program of United Synagogue to strengthen congregations. While this program is only open to USCJ-affiliated congregations in good standing, many congregational leaders interested in cultivating strategic thinking and planning in their board cultures will find USCJ’s web-based content informative and useful. SSP is designed for Synagogue leaders who are ready to begin planning - or to begin exploring the benefits and challenges of strategic planning. Leaders are guided through the process of forming a steering committee; defining the scope of the planning process; assessing the current situation (including data gathering and meaning-making); creating a mission and vision for the future; developing strategies that best utilize their capacities; and priority-setting and implementation. There are two programmatic components: (1) a learning community, which includes readings, webinars, exercises, and other resources, and (2) an action community, in which congregations take the steps of strategic planning together using an array of planning tools, exercises, and annotated guides for strategic planning committees. The team-based program design includes roles for rabbis and other key staff, as well as opportunities for congregational participation. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America.
Reviewed by Sandra Herron