Over the past year there have been several occasions where I have been approached by committee chairs and other congregants looking to me for advice on how to recruit younger members to the various groups and activities happening around the synagogue. Now, while I am flattered that I am considered to be young enough to fall into this group, I have not really been able to come up with the magic answer that people are looking for.
Despite this lack of THE solution, several of the officers and I had a productive conversation with our regional representative from The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), of which weare a member congregation. Over the past years our synagogue and the USCJ have not had a tremendous interaction and we have not taken advantage of the
many education and planning opportunities available to us as members of this organization. I would like to change this.
As a starting point I am planning on working with the Rabbi and others to organize and run a program for emerging leaders. This program carries almost no costs other than for some logistical items and it will help us to begin to establish a leadership pipeline for our shul. This does not mean that attendees will have to serve on the Board of Directors or as an officer. What it does mean is that we want to teach those who have not yet taken on a leadership position with any of our groups on the importance of communal involvement in our synagogue. I see this as a solid first step for our synagogue to prepare for the future, however there are many other resources available to us through the USCJ that I hope to be able to take advantage of going forward.
To get this program started the Rabbi and I will be looking for two groups of people. The first will be people who can be trained to facilitate this program within our synagogue. This small group will be trained by the USCJ staff to run this program and will then return to our synagogue to work with our group of emerging leaders. The second group will be those emerging leaders. The USCJ targets “emerging leaders” as those who are either 35-45 years old or empty nesters with discretionary time. These trainees will participate in the program at our shul, with our congregants – no travel is required.
If you are interested in volunteering for either of these two groups, or would like to volunteer someone else for them, please contact me. I look forward to helping to get this program going to the benefit of us all.