Synagogue Renewal and the Role of Federations

By Ron Wolfson, Lawrence A. Hoffman

Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA), Winter 2010

The 1980s were still years of the federation-synagogue wars. Federations had grown in stature after the Six-Day War: they raised money, held demonstrations, organized marches, and sent missions to save refuseniks behind the Iron Curtain. They were where the "action was." Synagogues supported these efforts. But visitors to synagogues at that time were likely to have someone take them aside and complain about the "unfairness" of it all. Big givers were abandoning synagogues for federations; federation-supported JCCs were "competing" with synagogues for the discretionary income of Jewish families and sometimes even running parallel programs - preschools, for example, and adult education. To top it off, synagogue members were taxed twice, because they paid dues to the synagogue but felt obliged to support federation too. That, at least, was how a good number of synagogues saw the situation only 25 years ago. How things have changed since then. The relationship between federations and synagogues has been changing, at least in forward-thinking communities. No longer at war, the two organizations are becoming allies. They need each other. And the Jewish community needs them both.

Topic: Congregations and Synagogues, Jewish Federations, Engagement, Partnerships, Inclusion, Synagogues and Congregations

Name of Publication: Journal of Jewish Communal Service

Editor: Naron Chalew, Gail

Volume/Issue: Vol.85/No.1

Page Number(s): 70-72

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Genre: Article

Coverage: New York, New York , United States

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Publisher

Copyright Information: Download for personal use, freely distribute link

Bibliographic Information:
Wolfson, Ron. Hoffman, Lawrence A. Synagogue Renewal and the Role of Federations. Journal of Jewish Communal Service. Jewish Communal Service Association of North America (JCSA). Winter 2010: 70-72.


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