It will indeed be a national conference. Already executive directors from Omaha, Baltimore, suburban Boston, suburban Minneapolis, Memphis and Washington, DC and suburbs have signed up, in addition to those coming from New York and New Jersey. The OU is providing a subsidy to defray the cost of traveling to the conference.
The conference, declared Rabbi Bini Maryles, OU Director of Synagogue Services, is “aimed at empowering executive directors and providing them with a host of resources aimed at further enhancing their ability to administer their synagogue.”
“Each synagogue is different but the basic challenges are the same everywhere — to maintain a well-functioning, thriving shul,” Rabbi Maryles said. “That is why we have chosen to bring executive directors together from around the country, to network with each other, to learn from each other, and to bring what they learned back home to their respective shuls and to share this information with their local colleagues.”
“Executive Directors are really the unsung heroes of synagogue life in America. NCSY would not be able to run hundreds of Shabbatonim all over North America without their help,” declared Rabbi Steven Burg, National Director of OU Program Development and International Director of NCSY, the OU youth program. Rabbi Burg will be a speaker at the upcoming conference.
According to Dr. Alan M. Singer, Executive Director of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, who played a major role in conference planning, “This will be a remarkable opportunity for executive directors from North America to experience the collegial interaction that the Tri-State execs benefit from monthly. It will be informative and enjoyable for all who participate.”
Digging deep into his synagogue’s files, Dr. Singer discovered that Shearith Israel, also known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, was host to a conference in May, 1965 of the National Association of Orthodox Synagogue Administrators, an organization affiliated with the OU. The conference, in fact, was held in conjunction with the OU’s biennial national convention.
Now there is a conference for a new generation of executive directors, facing today’s challenges and opportunities. Sessions include:
• Communication: Dealing with Rabbi and Board, with Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun in New York and L. Gilles Sion, Deputy General Counsel, KPMG LLP and Trustee of Congregation Shearith Israel;
• How to Take Your Shul from Good to Great, with Rabbi Steven Burg, National Director OU Program Development and International Director, NCSY;
• Security, with David Pollack of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York;
• Marketing and Fundraising with Stuart Himmelfarb, Chief Marketing Officer of UJA of Bergen County, NJ, and Paul Glasser, National Executive Director, American Committee for Shaare Zedek;
• Hiring/Firing, Volunteers with Seymour Adler, Ph.D., Aon Talent Solutions Consulting Senior Vice President;
• Conflict Management, with Dr. David Pelcovitz of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education of Yeshiva University.
OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb will be the dinner speaker on Monday night.
Participants will have the option of staying in a local hotel, with a group discount of $120 a night, or enjoy home hospitality. Conference registration is $250, including meals. For further information contact OU Synagogue Services at 212-613-8266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.