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Synergy/UJA Federation of NY

Thriving Synagogue Learning Tool


SYNERGY/UJA-Federation, through SYNERGY, helps New York-area synagogues thrive in the areas of sacred purpose, connected community, sound operations, and intentional leadership. Imbued with a sense of purpose, activity and energy, a thriving synagogue is vital and alive. Its members and participants feel a commitment to and affection for the congregational community, the synagogue, and the Jewish life and learning it fosters.

Key to this work is the Thriving Synagogue Learning Tool (TSLT). Based on concepts developed by SYNERGY, the tool was developed and tested by researchers at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. It measures the extent to which a synagogue is thriving in key areas of congregational life. In addition to a congregation and a board survey, it includes a fact sheet about synagogue membership, practices, and operations.

Data from these three sources are arrayed in a Profile of Thriving that shows the synagogue where it stands on various dimensions of thriving. The profile is a first step in appreciating where the synagogue is today and where it might head in the future. It begins an ongoing process of reflection and action that is undertaken with coaching and guidance from SYNERGY professionals.


Check out the following materials for more information about the TSLT and what is entailed in participation.

Get Started

To work with the TSLT, your synagogue must first: (1) sign a letter of agreement with SYNERGY/UJA-Federation of New York, and (2) create a survey leadership team to promote and oversee the work in your synagogue. To begin this process, contact Rebecca Missel, Program Manager, 212.836.1165.

When these steps are completed, your synagogue is ready to work with the TSLT. To begin, click the “Get Started” button on the top right of this page or the Survey Setup Form. Once this form is submitted, you will be contacted by SYNERGY to discuss next steps in setting a time line for the work, launching your congregation survey, and completing your synagogue fact sheet.

Learn more about the Survey Set up Form in our Introduction to the Setup Form.

Contact Us

For synagogues interested in using the TSLT

Contact Rebecca Missel, Program Manager at SYNERGY/UJA-Federation of New York:, 212.836,1165.

For current users of the TSLT

Technical support for the survey or fact sheet. Contact the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies:, 781.736.3944.

Ethical concerns on the treatment of survey respondents. You may contact the Brandeis Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects:, 781.736.8133. This committee works to safeguard the interests of individuals who participate in Brandeis-sponsored research.

Coaching help for understanding or using results. Contact Rebecca Missel, Program Manager,, 212.836.1165.

Thriving Synagogue Research Team

Amy L. Sales, PhD, Principal Investigator
Janet Krasner Aronson, PhD
Fern Chertok
David Manchester

Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies
Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02454-9110