In Restructuring, United Synagogue Slashes Dues, Jobs


The Conservative movement’s congregational arm will reduce dues that member synagogues pay to the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, cut 15 staff jobs and restructure many of its other leadership positions as part of a Strategic Plan announced this week.

The implementation of the year-long self-study of the denomination, which has suffered a major loss in members and congregations in recent decades, is “intended to create the framework for a new United Synagogue and to build a more vibrant Conservative movement,” Rabbi Steve Wernick, executive vice president, and Richard Skolnik, international president, said in a prepared statement.

Jerry Herman, a veteran of the nonprofit leadership field, becomes the organization’s first chief operating officer.

The Strategic Plan, developed by USCJ board members and pulpit rabbis, also includes, in addition to a 5 percent reduction in synagogue dues and the elimination of the movement’s current regional structure, a training program for 5,000 lay leaders in the United States and Canada.

Among new executive positions announced by USCJ are Kathy Elias, chief kehilla officer, Richard Moline, chief outreach officer; Barry Mael, chief resource development and marketing officer; Ray Goldstein, kehilla relationship team leader; and Rabbi Paul Drazen, director of special projects.

Rabbi Wernick and Skolnik announced that USCJ has received commitments for $800,000 over the next three years.