We hope that you, your loved ones, and the members of your community are healthy and thriving.

A friend and rabbi shared that this is an overwhelming time to be a congregational rabbi. She is absolutely right! It is also an overwhelming time to be responsible for funding a synagogue. 

Synagogue Council strives to provide synagogues with the resources they need to do the vital work that they do. Toward that end, we have engaged Lee Rosenfield, a veteran fundraising consultant who grew up on Boston’s North Shore. (For more information about Lee Rosenfield please visit his website, For an overview of his professional career, you are encouraged to access his Linkedin profile via his website.) 

Lee will facilitate a fundraising workshop on Tuesday evening, July 28 at 7:30 and repeat that workshop on Wednesday afternoon, July 29 at 1:00. During this workshop, open to all congregations, participants will share their fundraising concerns. Together, we will also introduce fundraising best practices, strategies, and techniques, with an emphasis on those most effective during the pandemic.

Following our workshop, leadership from Synagogue Council member congregations are invited to make individual consultation appointments with Lee. During your consultations, your fundraising team and Lee will discuss an individualized fundraising plan for your congregation. This opportunity is funded by Synagogue Council and will be provided free of charge to 20 member congregations on a first come, first served basis.

Gretchen Marks Brandt
Acting Director
Synagogue Council of Massachusetts
617-244-6506 ext. 12
While our various synagogue communities address our pandemic-related challenges differently, each of us must indeed face these challenges. Synagogue Council’s goal is to bring people together across the denominations to learn from each other about our varied approaches to celebrating the High Holidays during this unprecedented time. Our program about planning for the High Holidays, What Makes This Year Different from All Other Years on Tuesday, July 21st (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT) will feature a moderated panel of rabbis representing various movements. We will discuss planning for the High Holidays beginning with: What are your goals for the High Holiday experience this year? How has the pandemic impacted your goals? After Neila, what do you want people left with? And how are you organizing the logistics to meet those goals?

Panelists will address challenges, innovations, and unexpected benefits. We will wonder together about the needs of congregants this year and also the impact of the many forms and layers of loss that we have faced and how they may influence the High Holiday experience. And we will attempt to answer questions about messaging regarding changes and adaptations to this year’s High Holiday experience.

Our second program, on Wednesday, August 19 (3:30-5:00 p.m. EDT), will address our very real shared experiences of life during the pandemic: Coping with Uncertainty: Avarnu et Paraoh, na’avor gam et zeh (We overcame Pharaoh and we will overcome this too): Managing Expectations, Coping with Uncertainty, and Caring Remotely.

During this program, facilitated by Rabbi Beth Naditch, we will connect in the wilderness, take stock of our journey, and have safe opportunities to acknowledge ambiguous losses, share concerns and challenges, be heard, listen to each other, and vent. During this program, participants will learn a bit about how the pandemic is affecting us. We will then avail ourselves of break-out rooms in which clergy and lay leaders will meet separately and engage in conversations facilitated by chaplains and social workers. At the end of this program, we will come back together.

Camp Yavneh

Erev Yavneh b’Chagigah – A Livestream Benefit Concert featuring Joel Sussman

 Sunday, July 19th 7:00 PM EDT

Invite your friends and family to tune in on Sunday, July 19th at 7:00 PM for Camp Yavneh's Erev Yavneh b’Chagigah – A Livestream Benefit Concert featuring Joel Sussman. Joel is a renowned Jewish songwriter and one of the founding members of the internationally acclaimed Jewish Musical group SAFAM, and has been an integral part in bringing music to Camp Yavneh.

This musical evening, open to the community, will be emceed by third generation Yavneh alum and comedian, Ari Glasgow, and will be filled with ruach and great music. We are raising funds for a place and community we deeply cherish and love that has been around for generations.

Cancelling our summer camp season has had a serious financial impact on Camp Yavneh. We are seeking the full partnership of our community - alumni, camp families, grandparents, and friends - to help us bridge the gap to next summer.  Please join us in supporting Yavneh today.

You can watch the concert on our website starting at 7 PM .  We look forward to seeing you virtually!

Questions? Contact Adina at
Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

Israel and the Pandemic: Economic Impact, Political Response, Social Conclusions

Tuesday, July 21st 12:00 PM-1:00 PM EDT

Amotz Asa-El, Author; Senior columnist and former executive editor, Jerusalem Post; Research fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute

in conversation with:

Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History; Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

This event is part of our Summer Online Series. Advance registration required; the Zoom link will be sent to all registrants the day before the webinar. Learn more .
*If you have an event or initiative that you would like us to include in a future newsletter, please email us at