As part of its ongoing initiative to strengthen the OU presence in the Southeast region, Synagogue Services Southeast conducted an inaugural rabbinical retreat in May at the Knickerbocker Estate of Naples, Florida. Organized by Naftali Herrmann, OU Regional Director for Synagogues, Southeast, the three-day event, which attracted twenty-five rabbis throughout the area, was designed to foster networking between rabbis in the region, which currently encompasses North Carolina to Florida, and as far west as Louisiana.
“We wanted to promote ongoing conversation about everything that being a congregational rabbi entails,” says Herrmann.
“All too often, rabbis feel alone in the issues they face,” says Rabbi Adir Posy, OU Director of Regions, Western States. “This conference connected them to their neighbors and friends who are experiencing similar issues.”
Sessions covered a wide range of issues including fundraising, attracting new members, youth programming and re-energizing the rabbinate. Cultural and demographic challenges unique to the Southeast region were also discussed.
Joining the participants as moderators were OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, OU Senior Managing Director Rabbi Steven Weil, and Dr. David Pelcovitz, the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Chair in Psychology and Jewish Education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University.