USCJ Innovation Lab

In the spring of 2017, USCJ launched its Innovation Lab, an incubator within our larger structure to ensure that we are the platform and pipeline for twenty-first century Jewish life. Since that launch, we have significantly increased the resources offered to congregations that focus on transforming our synagogues for the coming decades.

The Innovation Lab is built on three pillars:

Learning: Kehilla leadership teams across North American can learn with USCJ staff about cutting-edge methodologies of change management and ideation to see the emerging future and enhance their capacity to embrace it. For example:

  1. Design Thinking: Design thinking is an approach developed in the technology sector that looks at change from the perspective of the user.
  2. Immunity to Change: Immunity to Change is a methodology developed by researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education that helps identify the hidden commitments that impede us making transformative change as leaders.
  3. Next Generation Judaism: Rabbi Mike Uram’s Next Generation Judaism won a National Jewish Book Award for the way that is describes Jewish life from the perspective of millennial Jews and proscribes ways that legacy institutions can adapt to meet their needs. USCJ is proud to partner with Rabbi Uram to provide webinars, in-person trainings, and bulk discounts to translate Next Generation Judaism to synagogue life.

Convening: USCJ brings kehillot leadership together to learn, dream, and challenge one another as they tackle the big questions. For example:

  1. The Commons: In September 2018, USCJ launched The Commons, an internal social network for member congregations to share resources, create affinity groups, and learn best practices.
  2. Kol Tefilla: Prayer is one of the central reasons that Jews come together in a synagogue, and many of our kehillot are on the cutting-edge of creating new modes of spiritual engagement. In 2018, USCJ partnered with Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles, California to create a high-impact, low-cast immersive experience to raise the bar for prayer in our congregations. Register today for the 2019 conference.

Incubating: USCJ partners with local communities that seek to engage post-college adults through non-traditional models. For example:

  1. San Francisco, California: Rabbi Daniel Novick pioneered a grassroots, community organizing-based model of millennial engagement in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read a profile in The Jewish News of Northern California about the “Flying Rabbi.”
  2. Washington D.C. Metro Area: USCJ is an initial funder of a project of Conservative synagogues led by Rabbis Aderet Drucker and Rami Schwartzer to do outreach with post-college, pre-family Jewish adults in Montgomery County, Maryland and Northern Virginia. This project was recently awarded a fellowship through the Open Dor Project.

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