Temple Sholom wins USCJ awards
Temple Sholom Awarded Top Honors by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Greenwich, CT - Temple Sholom received three Solomon Schechter Awards for Synagogue Excellence awarded by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The awards will be presented at USCJ's Biennial Convention in Cherry Hill, NY. USCJ is an association of Conservative Congregations in North America, consisiting of approximately 700 affiliated synagogues.
In the category of Membership Retention, Temple Sholom received a gold award. In the category of Web Site (non pro), Temple Sholom received a silver award. And, for its Early Childhood Education, Temple Sholom was awarded an honorable mention.
According to the United Synagogue, the Solomon Schechter Award rewards extraordinary characheristics and certain unusual and outstanding aspects or achievements that go beyond the expected norms found in synagoues. "Award winners deserve recognition for the originality and quality of thier rpograms, for their presentations and achievements. We congratulate them as well as the many other synagogues that continually strive for excellence. The selection process is not an easy one, and we applaud the efforts of all who submitted entries to the program."
Gold For Membership
The Temple Sholom entry into the category of Membership Retention reflects Temple Sholom's "Ohel Gadol" approach, which is a big tent philosophy of being warm, welcoming and all inclusive. The Membership Retention award focused on all facets of Temple Sholom including enhanced programming, staff development, marketing and communication, community outreach to the unaffiliated, interfaith relations and the accessibility and dedication of clergy and staff to servicing their membership.
Only three other synagogues in North America were awarded such a high honor in this category. "In awarding us this Gold honor, the USCJ judges validated that Temple Sholom is a welcoming place not only receptive to the needs of our members, but also a place that benefits the greater Jewish community", said Steven Katz, President of Temple Sholom. "Additionally, USCJ has recognized that Temple Sholom is a leading and innovative congregation using enhanced programming and services and dedicated, hard working staff members and volunteers to achieve our results."
Silver for Web Site
Temple Sholom was awarded a Silver Schechter award in the category of websites, specifically those that are designed, laid out and maintained by people who are not IT/web professionals. Some of the areas that were reviewed included:
- Presentation of congregational information ie, schedules of events, projects, social announcements, etc...
- Text content and journalistic skills
- Presentation of Jewish educational and Youth information
- Links to related Jewish organizations
- Effective use of copy, space and typography
- Overall layout, readability, design, use of graphics, use of space, etc...
- Use on internet technology ie, audio, video, database collection, etc...
"We have put much time and effort into making the Temple Sholom website a 'go to' place for our congregants as well as prosective members. Our website is an extremely improtant communications tool and we are thrilled that the USCJ has recognized our strength in this area", said Lori Baden, Director of Marketing and Communicatouns for Temple Sholom. Out of all the member congregations in North America, only 5 silver awards were handed out in this area.
Honorable Mention for the Selma Maisel Nursery School
In one of the most competitive areas, Temple Sholom's early education program received an honorable mention. In total, only 9 gold, silver and honorable mentions were awarded in this area. Everything from the school's facilities and Judaic curriculum to the school's philosopy and quality of teachers were judged. The schools' unique Discovery Room rpogram was one item in particular that made our entry stand out. "We are thrilled to be recognized with a Solomon Schechter Award", said Phyllis Lyons, Director of the Selma Maisel Nursery School. "With over 700 member congregations, we feel honored that out program was among those chosen."
The Solomon Schechter Awards program is one of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism's longest continuously running programs and is a fitting tribute to the memory of Solomon Schechter. When Dr. Schechter founded the United Synagogue in 1913, he hoped that our congragations' standards would rise continuously. Since 1949, several hundred congregations have been recognized for excellence in various aspects of synagogue life. Dr. Schechter's stress on meaningful synagogue activity and his emphasis on the synagogue as one of Judaism's core institutions are reflected in general in our mission as a movement, and in particular in the selection and presentation of these awards.
Late last year, Temple Sholom was also honored with two awards by METNY (Metropolitan New York Area of USCJ) in the areas of website and early childhood
Steve Katz, President, Phyllis Lyons,
Director of the Nursery School & Rabbi Mitch
accept the 2009 Schechter Awards on
behalf of the synagogue.