KOACH Lives; For Now

For the second time in fifteen months the leadership of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) has backed away from plans to close KOACH, the movement’s college outreach project. Responding to community pressure USCJ’s Board agreed yesterday to provide funding of $100K from now through December to enable the continuation of the program, however KOACH’s future is contingent upon raising an additional $130K.

Saying “KOACH is key to the future health of Conservative Judaism,” the movement alternates between spinning their previous decisions and talk of “maintaining a meaningful presence on the American college campus.” They also took the opportunity to call out the “inappropriate leak” of their plans – as they hoped to announce KOACH’s closing as a fait a compli.

from USCJ’s official statement:

“The passionate mobilization that has accompanied inaccurate reports of the demise of KOACH confirms the vital necessity of continuing this program,” added Rabbi Wernick this morning. “It was never our intent to cut the program; we merely called for a summer hiatus to regroup and strategize about new methods of fundraising. KOACH is key to the future health of Conservative Judaism.”

Proof of the popularity of KOACH can be found in the events of this past week. Since news was inappropriately leaked last week following a USCJ budget meeting, the organization has received over 500 emails in support of KOACH, most of which are from students, the rest from parents and other interested parties, said Rabbi Wernick. In addition, a petition imploring USCJ to maintain KOACH was drafted, garnering over 750 names. Women’s League for Conservative Judaism has already started gathering donations to maintain the program.

… The USCJ Board of Directors called for the creation of a KOACH Consortium, made up of key movement stakeholders whose task it is to address the core issue of drawing up a comprehensive strategy to secure the presence of Conservative Judaism on campus. Matters under discussion include a new marketing plan for KOACH, the re-articulation of its vision and central messages, the creation of a new operation model and a new budget.