Federation-Synagogue grants program seeks to build a strong community

by | Jun 8, 2012 | Other News

Continuing its yearlong effort to strengthen temples and synagogues in the Tidewater community, the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater recently launched its Federation-Synagogue Grants program. Funds are being made available for innovative projects that will solidify the role of synagogues as welcoming, inspired and inclusive communities.

UJFT made the Federation-Synagogue partnership a top priority in its 2011 completed strategic plan. Throughout the year, UJFT pursued this partnership with a vigor, establishing a community-wide Shabbaton involving all synagogues and movements. UJFT also created a special section on its website dedicated to synagogue affairs and developed a community concierge program serving and referring new community members to synagogues.

The long-anticipated request for proposals were welcomed by all the synagogues and preliminary discussions are being held to find out if promising ideas meet the criteria of innovation, outreach and engagement, and other strategies that can help a synagogue grow in quality and numbers. It is anticipated that all synagogues will meet the participation criteria and projects can begin July 1, 2012.

The model for the project is the much acclaimed and nationally recognized Synagogue 3000 initiative. The New York City Federation has been a leader in using this model in pioneering a new era of Synagogue-Federation relations. There is no quid pro quo in the NYC model other than the desire to strengthen synagogues, strengthen the community and fill the lives of people with Jewish wonder.

“I am thrilled that we continue to march forward with this aspect of our strategic plan. We have honored our commitment to our community to build a better community and to strengthen our synagogues and our partnership with them,” says Alvin Wall, UJFT president.

The effort also includes elements that have been successful in communities such as Springfield, Mass. that have modified the Synagogue 3000 model. Other communities are calling Tidewater to ask about efforts in Federation-Synagogue partnership.

“We have stayed true to our strategic and our collective word to pursue a fruitful partnership with our synagogues. It has not always been easy, as all of us have to learn to think and act in a manner that transcends our organizations. However, UJFT is committed to building a strong community. I am proud of what we have done this year and excited about this new initiative,” says Harry Graber, UJFT executive vice president.