About Synagogue Initiatives

In 1898 Dr. Henry Pereira Mendes, Minister of Congregation Shearith Israel, called local leaders together, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America was born, established to “speak with authority in the name of Orthodox Jews, and to defend the rights of Orthodox Jews.” The Orthodox Union has been servicing synagogues and communities ever since. 

The Department of Synagogue Initiatives provides vision, leadership, and programmatic support to Orthodox communities and congregations throughout North America. Our goal is to strengthen our communities, member congregations, and their constituencies, by providing religious, educational, social, and cultural programming on relevant and timely issues that impact upon the lives of individuals and families. We are readily available to provide an array of programming, design and promotional services to implement cohesive and successful programs or give support and guidance to help communities present their own events.

  • "As I began my role as an executive director, the OU was instrumental in helping me feel like I was not alone in a position that has very few peers in my immediate surroundings. I can honestly say that without the OU and the connections they made for me, I would not be able to do my job."

    OU Member Synagogue Executive Director, Ohio
  • "Our entire community was struggling with the best way to serve our youth across multiple and diverse Shuls. The OU was able to come in and bring our community together and provide a solution that we could not have done on our own."

    OU Member Synagogue Rabbi, Georgia
  • “Just a quick note to say thank you to the Synagogue Services department for helping us network with other OU shuls.  Richard posted on the OU Executive Director Google Group that his shul was looking to replace some of its worn out Birnbaum Machzorim and wondered if any other shuls might have some to spare. Because of the connection the OU facilitated between me and Richard, we were able to give 112 Birnbaum Machzorim a second life, freeing up much needed space in our shul and saving them the expense of having to buy new machzorim.”

    OU Member Synagogue Executive Director, California
  • “I just wanted to let you know that I used the stories and questions from your Rosh Hashanah resources and they went extremely well! The prompt questions that you provided really engaged the kids in discussion.  Please send more! Thank you so much.”

    OU Member Synagogue Youth Professional, Toronto, Canada
  • “Thank you for meeting with us yesterday. We found the conversation and guidance very helpful, and the benchmarking was extremely gratifying. We look forward to using a number of the suggested strategies. If there is anything we can do to help the OU with outreach or with leadership training, please let us know.”

    OU Member Synagogue President, New York