USCJ Restructuring: A Message for the Northeast District

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June 29, 2011 | 27 Sivan 5771

As we are sure you know, we are in the midst of a restructuring that will result in a United Synagogue that is better adapted to serve you, the leaders of our kehillot. The process is painful and exhilarating. We have had to say goodbye to some of our employees as the kinds of jobs we are creating demand new skills, and we are reconfiguring our work to make it as efficient and effective as possible.

The most central of all our goals is to focus on strengthening and transforming our kehillot. We are replacing our district or regional directors with kehilla relationship managers (KRM), who will be our kehillot’s ombudsmen, representing United Synagogue on the international level to each kehilla and representing each kehilla to United Synagogue. After the transition is complete KRMs will not collect dues or oversee programs; instead, they will build and maintain relationships with kehillot and among them.

Each kehilla will be assigned its own KRM, who will work with you, develop real relationships with your kehilla leaders, and understand your specific strengths and challenges. We are working on that part of our plan now and will let you know who your KRM will be as soon as we can.

We hope that you join us in saying goodbye to Aaron Kischel, who is retiring after many years as first regional executive director (New England region) and then district director. He did a wonderful job, developed many deep and important relationships, and has a real commitment to Conservative Judaism and United Synagogue. We all were lucky to have worked with him. Howard Goldberg, who has been assistant director, will become a KRM, and we have begun to search for a second district KRM. Rabbi Irit Printz will continue as the KRM for Canadian kehillot in the district.

Dr. Ray Goldstein, who has been interim Central district director, is our new KRM team leader, overseeing the work of all the KRMs. He is friendly, knowledgeable, accessible, and a wonderful resource for all kehilla leaders. He will report to Kathy Elias, who was the director of our Mid-Atlantic district, has many years of kehilla-strengthening experience under her belt, and is now our chief kehilla officer.

We would also like to acknowledge Marcus Fink, who served as the director of Hanefesh Region (Connecticut Valley) USY and Kadima. Marcus led our USYers and Kadimaniks in Hanefesh for fifteen years. We are grateful to him for the many leaders he mentored and the countless lives he touched.

The Hanefesh region of USY and Kadima will continue to grow and thrive under the expert leadership of Joyce Juda who has and continues to serve as the NERUSY (New England Region USY/Kadima) director; Tammi Kraushaar who will continue to serve as our Hanefesh field worker (and is already working hard with our USYers on the upcoming Encampment this August); and a new youth activities coordinator for the region whom we hope to have in place by the High Holy Days.

Although much of this necessary restructuring has been wrenching we are excited about the future. We look forward to moving forward together.

The professional and lay leadership of the Northeast District will be in touch with every kehilla in the coming weeks. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Howard Goldberg at or 518.250.9076 (for congregations in the United States) or Rabbi Irit Printz at or 647.931.4833 / 866.863.8263 (for congregations in Canada).


Richard Skolnik
International President

Rabbi Steven Wernick
Executive Vice President and CEO