Strengthening Our Communities

The OU Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue & Community Services provides religious, educational, social, and operational support to synagogues and communities across North America.

Regional directors connect a robust network of rabbis and rebbetzins, executive directors, lay leaders, youth staff, and business experts who share best practices and help communities thrive both spiritually and socially.

Visit OU Synagogue & Community Services
Photo on left: Kansas City was one of the nearly 60 communities from the U.S. and Israel represented at the Jewish Community Fair.
Photo on right: The OU’s Jewish Community Home & Job Relocation Fair offers information and resources to families and individuals wanting to improve their quality of life by relocating to affordable Jewish communities that offer professional opportunities.
600
VIRTUAL MEETINGS GUIDING AND INFORMING COMMUNITY LEADERS
50,000
CALLS TO OUR DAILY DOSE OF CHIZUK AND TEHILLIM CALLS
3,700
WORLDWIDE PARTICIPANTS IN VIRTUAL SPIRIT SESSIONS FOR RETIREES, BABY BOOMERS, AND EMPTY NESTERS

Programming And Community Development During Covid-19

Staying Informed and Inspired

With so many unknowns during the outbreak, OU staff provided much-needed support, including guidance about closing and reopening schools and shuls and effective best practices. The department arranged communication with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams with ourschools and shuls. Nearly 700 people across the country call in daily to our Tehillim calls, while community programming, including the Calm Amid Corona series and Project Resilience, have kept community members connected and inspired during these trying times.

Serving All Ages and Stages

Kids, empty nesters, parents, and community leaders have all had their challenges—and the department’s professional staff summoned all its resources to address them. The SPIRIT Initiative—begun in 2013 for active retirees, empty nesters, and baby boomers—shifted from onsite to online, while the department developed a set of tools for parents with kids on extended hiatus.

Calm Amid Corona, a series of talks by mental health professionals who provided help with managing through the emotional challenges of the pandemic.
The OU Community Fair focused on growing communities throughout the U.S.

Creating Community: Before Corona

Opening the Gates of Heaven: Tefillah Initiative

A first-of-its-kind series of webinars for ba’alei tefillah leading up to the 2019 High Holidays drew over 235 participants representing 136 shuls across the world. Led by seasoned chazzanim and rabbis, sessions offered support and guidance to those who take on the responsibility of inspiring and leading the Jewish people to connect with Hakadosh Baruch Hu on the most important days of the year. This was followed in 2020 by a virtual course for new chazzanim, which trained 236 ba’alei tefillah from 21 states in the U.S., three Canadian provinces, Israel, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates.

OU Community Fair 2019

In November 2019, before COVID-19 shut down our world, the OU held its seventh International Jewish Community Home & Job Relocation Fair. Over 1,500 people attended the event, which showcased a record-breaking 63 communities from the U.S. and Israel. Attendees learned about the schools, local infrastructure, and potential employment opportunities in the participating communities. Special workshops were available for first-time home buyers and Nefesh b’Nefesh facilitated workshops for those contemplating Aliyah.

Yachad