Congregational Life

Congregations have been the center of Jewish communal life for centuries – places in which we gather to meet, pray, learn, and celebrate Jewish life. Today, the Reform Movement’s nearly 850 synagogues continue this tradition for more than 1.5 million Jews throughout North America, providing vital support that keeps congregations innovative, nimble, growing, and successful in today’s world.

Photo: Judy Licht for Temple Sinai

Photo: Dale Lazar 2018

Resources for Strengthening Congregations

More than 500 Reform congregations called upon the URJ for advice and guidance in 2018. From managing clergy transitions to confronting local anti-Semitism and from developing strong leaders to engaging the younger generation, the URJ provides one-on-one guidance and advice to leaders on the ground, helping them meet their specific challenges with targeted, personalized support.

Photo: Melissa Stollman, Congregation Kol Tikvah, Parkland, FL

Photo: Ruthe Swern, Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto, Ontario



Photo: Emma Sandler, Temple Israel of Boston, Boston, MA


The effective use of data is no longer optional in our data-driven society.  The URJ’s Congregational Benchmarking and Assessment Project continued to guide congregations from data collection through analysis and priority setting, ensuring that individual congregations are devising strategies and making decisions based on reliable data and discovering trends so they may plan for success.

Engaging 20s & 30s

The URJ is supporting efforts to reach young adults in their 20s and 30s with newly designed opportunities for social action, community and Jewish learning. More than 60 congregations are already offering these programs. In 2018, funds were raised to hire a 20s & 30s Network Director to establish a more formal network in 2019.

Engaging Young Families

The URJ partners with more than 300 synagogues, those with and without early childhood centers, to help pre-kindergarten children from diverse backgrounds learn about Jewish values, while their parents have opportunities to forge connections with each other. Teachers are offered professional development, such as Project Excellence for Early Childhood Congregational Education, to establish standards of excellence.

Photo: Judy Licht for Temple Sinai

Photo: Stephanie Fink

Photo: Melissa Stollman, Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland, FL



URJ’s Crisis and Transition Management Team partners with congregations to provide support for a range of situations, including conflict management, crisis management, lay-clergy relationships, major clergy transitions, and support for congregations considering a merger or an alternative to a merger. Clergy and transition support is provided in partnership with the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) and the American Conference of Cantors (ACC).