Conservative Synagogue Movement Nixes Additional Financial Support for Koach

Last month, the Conservative Synagogue movement in North America released a draft plan for the redesign of the movement. In it, they announced that Koach – the movement’s college outreach project – will be reconfigured and “funding will be provided for new pilot young adult initiatives and outreach.” A group of Koach participants, and alumni, feel there are more effective alternatives and came together to form the Mahar Coalition.

The students have been active in getting their message heard on many publications. We’ve published two pieces from partcipants, My Place In Conservative Judaism and The Threat of Losing That Place and In Support of Koach. Now comes word, via The Jewish Week, that “there has been no concrete change” in financial support for the Koach programs:

“There has been no concrete change,” said Rabbi Steven Wernick, executive vice president and CEO of the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism.

He stressed that the planned reorganization never contemplated an end of Koach but rather that it have a “more narrow focus on campus because of [limited] resources.”

“That remains the same,” he said.

Rabbi Wernick said budgetary constraints and a revamping of his organization’s mission has meant that Koach, which received about $400,000 this year, would be receiving only about $225,000 to $250,000 next year. A decade ago, it had a budget of $750,000.

… Rabbi Wernick told The Jewish Week that the draft of USCJ’s strategic plan had been changed to reflect the importance of Koach.

“We clarified the language so that people understood it would continue to be a presence with the resources that are available,” he said. “And we said it is something we hope to engage the rest of the movement in conversation about.”

The draft plan will be voted on this Sunday by the United Synagogue’s board of directors.