UJA-Federation Study Examines Role of Synagogue Top Job Nationwide

Thursday, May 31, 2018

UJA-Federation Study Examines Role of Synagogue Top Job Nationwide

A new study by UJA-Federation of New York finds that the executive director/administrator role is increasingly critical to helping synagogues manage mounting challenges to fiscal and operational stability. Fewer than half of the nearly 2,000 synagogues nationwide, however, currently have such a top-tier employee in place.

The Synagogue Executive Director: A Changing Role for Changing Times is considered the first report of its kind to examine this crucial role across the four mainstream movements—Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Orthodox—and unaffiliated congregations.

As of October 2017, just 950 individuals serve in paid executive-level positions, which tend to be poorly defined and hampered by competing demands and a lack of clarity around function, governance, management and leadership authority. Executive directors are also pressed to manage many key functions in the synagogue, including technology, facilities management, general operations and administrative tasks, often with no prior experience in these fields.

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