Resources For Lay Leadership



Back by popular demand!

May 12th at 7:00 PM and

May 15th at 10:00 am

Daniel Langenthal photo.jpeg

Synagogue Council is pleased to invite synagogue rabbis and presidents to an informational session about a very important FREE workshop on developing the lay and senior professional leadership relationship facilitated by Daniel Langenthal (

During this 45 minute informational session, Daniel will lead an interactive activity that will give participants a sample of the consultation experience. He will also describe the building blocks of the consultation sessions.

The workshop will be a 2 hour individualized consultation session for lay and senior professional leadership with Daniel. These consultation sessions are FREE to synagogues and congregations who are members in good standing of the Synagogue Council.

The consultation sessions are designed to help build new relationships and strengthen those that already exist. Participants will learn about each other’s working styles and also explore their own and their partners’ goals for themselves and the synagogue. This workshop will provide both a process and tools through which participants may better understand each other, clarify the differing roles and responsibilities of their positions, develop consensus building strategies, recognize and respect differences and develop skills for effective working relationships.

This introductory program is open to ALL synagogue presidents and rabbis and will be offered twice;  Thursday evening May 12th at 7:00 pm and Sunday morning May 15th at 10:00 am. 








An important message for Synagogue Presidents:


For more than two years, the Synagogue Council has hosted semi-monthly roundtables for synagogue presidents or their representatives. Participants have greatly appreciated the discussions, resources and comradery. Although the Synagogue Council will be closing its doors, we are happy to share that Daniel Langenthal of Daniel Langenthal Consulting has offered to continue these roundtables. If you wish to be included in future roundtables, please contact Daniel. (The Synagogue Council respects your privacy and will not be sharing your contact information.)


In the meantime, the Synagogue Council will continue to host our Presidents' Roundtables through October. Our next roundtable will take place at noon on Thursday September 15th and October roundtables are scheduled for October 13th and 27th. 

Synagogue Council of Massachusetts is delighted to welcome congregational presidents (or their representatives) to semi-monthly roundtable discussions facilitated by Daniel Langenthal on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 12:00-1:00. 


Synagogue Council is abundantly grateful to Daniel Langenthal, an organizational consultant with extensive experience working with leadership in the Jewish community and former director of the CJP Leadership Development Institute (LDI). Daniel joins us at our roundtables to facilitate our conversations and to share his skills, knowledge and experience. More information about Daniel and his work may be found

Synagogue Council’s roundtable is an opportunity for synagogue lay-leaders to talk with other lay-leaders, to brainstorm together, to learn from each other, to share innovations, concerns and challenges and to engage in peer-to-peer conversations and mentorship. 

Meetings on the third Thursday are theme based and themes change monthly. Third Thursday themes have included:

February 18, 2021: “How will we know when it’s safe to reopen?”

March 18, 2021: "Managing Transitions"

April 15, 2021: "Learning from Success"

May 20, 2021: "Hybrid Events: Ideas for making them compelling for all participants both on-line and in-person"

June 17, 2021: "Gathering in person: managing expectations and dealing with push-back"


On the first Thursday of the month, we gather to address whatever concerns, challenges and ideas that you bring to the table. 


We invite congregational presidents (or their representatives) to join us when you are able and also to propose topics for the roundtable.


For more information and the Zoom link for our roundtable meetings, please contact Gretchen Marks Brandt, [email protected]

*This program honors the memory of Synagogue Council Past President, Arnold Zaff z"l. 

In the Mishna, the rabbis taught, "Be equally attentive to minor and major principles" (Avot 2:1).

That was Arnie. He valued the big picture, and, at the same time, attended scrupulously to very

detail, whether an arcane aspect of Roberts's Rules, a complex Biblical Hebrew verb, a pitcher's

ERA, or the knot in his bow tie. 


Arnie's impact upon us, and upon the community, cannot be measured.

We honor his legacy by convening synagogue leadership for meaningful dialogue, learning,

support, and mentorship. 


Past Programs


With Keith Krivitzky

Held on Wednesday October 27th

Mr. Krivitzky leads The New Normal Project, which helps Jewish community organizations understand today’s confluence of challenges and opportunities.


This workshop will explored key challenges synagogue leaders face:

  • Synaogues need a leadership pipeline and succession pathways

  • Synagogues need meaningful roles for volunteers

  • Synagogues need younger volunteers


Keith provided effective solutions to these

key issues.


Keith's PowerPoint presentation is

availble here as a pdf.




Coping with Uncertainty:
Avarnu et Paraoh, na’avor gam et zeh
(We overcame Pharaoh and we will overcome this too):
Managing Expectations, Coping with Uncertainty, and Caring Remotely

Wednesday, August 19, 2020 3:30-5pm


During this program, facilitated by Rabbi Naditch, we will connect in the wilderness, take stock of our journey and have safe opportunities to acknowledge ambiguous losses, share concerns and challenges, be heard, listen to each other, and vent. Participants will learn a bit about what we know regarding how the pandemic is affecting us, and then we will avail ourselves of break-out rooms in which clergy and lay leaders will meet separately and engage in conversation facilitated by chaplains and social workers. At the end of this program, we will come back together.

What Makes This Year Different From All Other Years? Planning for the High Holidays, On-Line Edition

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 10-11am


For those who seek a focus on virtual High Holiday services, our program, What Makes This Year Different From All Other Years? Planning for the High Holidays, On-Line Edition, will take place on Tuesday, August 4th, at 10 in the morning. Once again, this one-hour program will offer a moderated panel that will address questions about how they hope to realize their goals for the High Holiday experience through worship services and activities accessed on-line. Panelists will address challenges, innovations, and unexpected benefits. We will wonder together about the needs of congregants this year, and also the impact of the many forms and layers of loss that we have faced and how this may influence the High Holiday experience. And we will attempt to answer questions about messaging regarding changes and adaptations to this year’s High Holiday experience. 

Arnold Zaff Memorial Presidents' Leadership Forum

Models of Collaboration: The Role of the Synagogue President

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 2-3:30pm

WEBINAR Facilitated by Dr. Craig Schneider


In the best and worst of times, the success and vitality of our synagogues, rests on the shoulders of its key leadership, including spiritual leaders, presidents, and executive directors. This program is the first in the Models of Collaboration series among these key leaders, with a focus on the role of the president, particularly to help onboard new presidents. The format will be a moderated panel of current and past presidents followed by an interactive Q & A session.  Our goal is to leverage the experience, wisdom and insights of our panelists and also to answer your questions about best practices for collaboration—what a new president needs to know to succeed!