USCJ’s 2015 Convention To Serve as Incubator for Change in Conservative Jewish Community

ShapeTheCenterLogo4c-NEW_horizontal-chgo_horizontal-chgoTomorrow, the world’s largest gathering of Conservative Jewish thinkers and doers will converge upon the Chicagoland-area to influence the future of Conservative Judaism at The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism’s (USCJ) convention, Shape the Center. Not just a conference, but a launching pad for positive change, Shape the Center is an opportunity to engage, inspire and transform Conservative Judaism and kehillot (sacred communities) throughout North America.

Taking a holistic approach to synagogue life, the convention will offer interactive workshops to build people’s capacity in addressing today’s most pressing issues, including LGBTQ and special needs inclusion, leadership development, change management, millennial engagement, interfaith families, financial sustainability, and more.

The convention’s action-oriented workshops will be facilitated by Jewish leaders and innovators such as author Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom; novelist Dara Horn; Lab/Shul spiritual leader Amichai Lau-Lavie; director and founder of the 92Y Shababa Network, Karina Zilberman; co-author of Immunity to Change, Harvard University Professor Robert Kegan, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post critic Sarah Kaufman.

Additionally Rabbi David Wolpe will lead an interactive “IdeaLab” to come up with a new tagline for Conservative Judaism to help define its future course.

USCJ is also partnering with innovative organizations such as Keshet, JOIN for Justice, and The Ruderman Family Foundation, among others, to lead intensive sessions on topics including how to create a welcoming community for LGBTQ and special needs congregants and families, and making community organizing around social justice issues a pillar of congregation programming.

The gathering will also include a multi-generational Shabbaton for more than 500 Conservative Jews of all ages. Together they will engage in a weekend of celebration and learning, culminating with a Havdalah concert from Joey Weinsenberg, the Creative Director of the Hadar Center for Communal Jewish Music, and Cantor George Mordecai of Temple Israel in White Plains, NY.